Gandhinagar, Aug 5: The BJP government in Gujarat has accused Congress of trying to disrupt peace in the state and misguide the Patel community, who are demanding reservation in jobs and education under OBC category.
Speaking to reporters here today, state Health Minister and government spokesman Nitin Patel claimed Congress is trying to "disrupt the peaceful environment" prevailing in Gujarat ever since BJP came to power in 1995.
Though officially Congress has not overtly supported the quota demand, their leaders, including some MLAs, are actively involved in inciting the community, he claimed. "Congress leaders, including some MLAs, are involved in inciting and misguiding the community.
They are trying to disrupt peace and harmony prevailing in Gujarat since 1995. Congress is deliberately trying to give a violent turn to the stir by developing animosity among different communities."
According to him, Congress leaders are working on two fronts. Those who belong to general category are approaching the community leaders and asking them to agitate for quota.
"On the other hand, leaders belonging to OBC and SC/ST categories are spreading fear that people from general category will take away their quota. Congress is doing dirty politics over this issue," he said.
"Congress MLA from Vijapur P I Patel is one such example. He has written a letter to our CM in support of the agitating community. Apart from him, we know that many others are running the show from behind the curtains but don't want to come out in open," he said.
The minister said everyone knows that Hardik Patel, the movement's leader, is a Congress worker. "I know him because we met during a function. I don't know him personally. He is lying if he claims that he belongs to BJP. Actually, he is a Congress worker from Viramgam."
Asked about the government's stand on the demand, he said the agitators should come forward and hold talks. Patel said that the government has taken note of the stir and appointed some non-political leaders to facilitate dialogue with the protesting community.
"We have taken note of the ongoing agitation. We are also holding talks with them through some senior community leaders," he said. "Whoever wants to convey their demands can use an appropriate platform to make representation to us. We invite them to have a meaningful discussion with us," he said.