Three ‘Musketeers’ of Gujarat ring warning bell

Dalit youth leader Jignesh Mevani, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Patidar youth leader Hardik Patel have begun sabre rattling, not giving breathing time to the newly installed Vijay Rupani govt

Photo courtesy: Twitter
Photo courtesy: Twitter

Nachiketa Desai

Three young leaders of three independent social movements that rocked the boat of the Bharatiya Janata Party have continued to challenge the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat Model’ of development even after the elections to the state assembly are over.

Dalit youth leader Jignesh Mevani, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor (Both elected to the state assembly for the first time) and the face of the pro-quota agitation of Patidar youth Hardik Patel have begun sabre rattling, not giving a breathing time to the newly installed Vijay Rupani government.

The independent member of the state assembly Mevani, who was elected from Vadgam in Banaskantha district, gheraoed the Gomtipur police station in the heart of Ahmedabad city demanding action against illegal liquor dens which, he alleged, were flourishing in the predominantly labour localities in connivance with the police and bootlegger.

Thousands of local people joined Mevani in the gherao forcing the police to promise actions within 48 hours. Later, he visited another slum colony of Vadaj, barely one km from the Harijan Ashram at Sabarmati founded by Mahatma Gandhi to ‘expose’ a similar illicit liquor trade flourishing there.

He then led a delegation to the Ahmedabad police commissioner and submitted a memorandum demanding closure of all illicit liquor dens within 24 hours in Gomtipur, Vadaj and other localities in the city.

Alpesh Thakor, who was elected on the Congress symbol, also threatened to join hands with Mevani if the police did not act against the illicit liquor dens. It was Thakor who had originally started the agitation against the illicit liquor dens before the elections. He said similar agitations would also be launched in other cities and towns in the state for banishing liquor dens.

Alpesh has also threatened the state government against stopping Narmada canal waters to the farmers for irrigation in Patan district at least till January 20. He said farmers required irrigation facilities at this stage without which they would suffer huge losses. If the government stopped irrigation water at this stage under the pretext of canal maintenance, he would launch an agitation at the ministerial bungalow complex in Gandhinagar. “We will go with necessary tools to cut the water supply to the ministerial bungalows and gherao the chief minister,” Alpesh said.

Hardik Patel, who is running the risk of being jailed again under the sedition and other cases pending against him before the elections, has already threatened to resume the quota stir demanding reservation for Patidars youth in jobs and higher education. Hardik and his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti are holding a chintan Shivir in Botad in the Saurashtra region to analyse the causes for the failure of the PAAS to defeat the BJP.

The Vijay Rupani government has directed the police to take necessary steps to prevent Hardik and the PAAS from resuming their agitation.

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