Hardik Patel ends his fast for Patidar quota, loan waiver on 19th day

Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel ended his hunger strike on "people's advice" on the 19th day Wednesday but vowed to take his fight to Delhi, even as the Gujarat government showed no signs of initiating talks with him.

Hardik Patel had launched an indefinite fast for OBC quota for the Patidar community as well as farm loan waiver on August 25 from his house in Ahmedabad.

On Wednesday, he accepted lemonade from the community leaders Naresh Patel and C K Patel.

He said his fight will continue for quota, farm loan waiver and release of his friend Alpesh Kathiriya, arrested recently on sedition charges. Patel had added Kathiriya's release in his list of demands later, during his fast.

He said he will organise protests at Jantar Mantar or Ramlila Maidan in Delhi.

"I have ended my indefinite fast after considering people's advice that I can fight only when I am live, and I will win only when I fight," the 25-year-old leader told reporters.

"The BJP government should feel ashamed that it did not worry about the loan burden of farmers. I can understand that you may not agree with the demands of a community...but the government is not even serious or sensitive about the issues of people," he said.

He claimed his fast has brought together various factions of the Patidar community.

Hardik Patel also came down heavily on police, accusing them of manhandling his supporters and preventing them from entering his residence when he was on fast.

Asked about his next course of action, he said he will visit villages in Gujarat over the next 100 days to mobilize farmers and the Patidar community and then take his fight to Delhi.

Leaders from six Patidar organisations were present by Patel's side. They said they will press the community's demands by continuing talks with the state government.

"We will try to persuade the government to release Alpesh Kathiriya on a priority basis," said C K Patel.

After breaking his fast, Hardik Patel visited the Gandhi Ashram in the city to pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said Hardik Patel took the right decision to break his fast.

"He did it late but he took the right decision," Nitin Patel said, without indicating whether the government would hold talks with him.

Hardik Patel had started his fast at his house on August 25, the third anniversary of his 2015 agitation for quota.

He was admitted to a hospital after his health deteriorated on the 14th day of his fast. After spending two days in hospital, he returned to his house and continued the hunger strike.

He had started taking liquids and was administered glucose at the hospital, but claimed that he did not take any solid food during the fast.

The BJP government had alleged that Hardik Patel's agitation was "politically-motivated" and had opposition Congress' backing.

Energy Minister Saurabh Patel had said the government was open to talks with anybody, but no negotiations were held.

Leaders of opposition parties including state Congress leaders, independent MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, Loktantrik Janata Dal leader Sharad Yadav, TMC MP Dinesh Trivedi, Dalit leader from Maharashtra Prakash Ambedkar and Congress leader and former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat met Hardik Patel during his fast and expressed their support.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel