Senior BJP leader Nitin Patel is the deputy chief minister of Gujarat
The Patidar community is largely with the BJP and quota agitation leader Hardik Patel has lost support, Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel has said. The senior BJP leader also said that the state government was not facing anti-incumbency even after ruling the state for over 20 years.
The Congress, the main opposition, was beset with factions ahead of assembly polls this year, the BJP leader said in an interview to IANS.
Mr Patel said Patidaar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel had drawn support initially in the movement for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the Patels, but the situation had changed.
"Earlier there were more people (with Hardik) as they felt they may get something. Then people saw that what the government is doing is right," the Deputy Chief Minister said.
"They felt that people from our community in the government and the BJP were saying the right thing. The community is accepting what we are telling them. Now (support for him) is considerably less," Mr Patel added.
Hardik Patel, 23, has been spearheading an agitation since July 2015 for quotas for the Patel community in education and government jobs.
Nitin Patel, considered the Patidar face of the government, said the agitation was at its peak at one stage.
"Now they have gone slow. There is no one except the agitators," he said.
Mr Patel said the resentment among Patels had been addressed by the government.
"We started the Mukhyamantri Swamlamban scheme for students from castes that do not get benefit of reservation, including Patidars," he said.
Asked about Hardik Patel's demand for a Patidar Commission, he said the Commission won't be only for Patidars.
"If it is to be done, it should be for all those who do not get benefit of reservation," he said.