Ahmedabad: Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel on Monday took out a roadshow in Ahmedabad, despite police denying permission for it, and attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for linking the elections to Pakistan, which he said was a "lie".
He also criticised the BJP for talking about "Ram Mandir, Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan" during electioneering instead of the future of the local youth.
The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener also called upon people from different communities to come together to defeat the "arrogant BJP".
Earlier in the day, Hardik took out the 15-km-long roadshow from Bopal area of Ahmedabad.
Hundreds of his supporters took out the rally on motorcycles and four-wheelers through the main city area, even as the police said they will take legal action against Patel for holding the roadshow without permission.
His supporters, especially youths from the Patidar community, gathered at various places on the way to greet him and express their support.
The roadshow culminated in Nikol locality where he addressed a public meeting.
"(Modi said) people came from Pakistan and discussed Gujarat elections. Stop telling lies. What has Pakistan to do with Gujarat elections? People who talked about development have again gone back to talk about Ram Mandir, terrorism, Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, but did you see them talk about development?" Patel told a gathering at Nikol.
Addressing a rally in Palanpur on Sunday, Modi had claimed that leaders of the Congress had held a secret meeting with current and former Pakistani dignitaries a day ahead of Mani Shankar Aiyar's "neech" jibe against him.
He also claimed there was an attempt by Pakistan to interfere in the Gujarat polls.
The PAAS has extended support to the Congress in the polls on the assurance of quota given by the Rahul Gandhi-led party if it forms government.
"They (BJP) do not talk about how to create jobs for youths, all they do is talk about Hindu-Muslims, India- Pakistan, to divert people's attention and speak lies," Patel claimed.
"Saheb" (Modi) has been making long speeches but did not utter a word about the condition of the people here or about the plight of diamond traders who are affected by the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax," he claimed.
Nikol area has a number of diamond polishing units.
Earlier, Ahmedabad Police Commissioner AK Singh said that the police had not allowed Hardik to hold the roadshow in the city.
"We had not given permission to Hardik Patel to hold the roadshow in Ahmedabad, but from the kind of rally that has been taken out by his supporters in the city area, we do see that it is violation of the condition and we will take legal action," Singh said.
Continuing his diatribe against Modi, Patel claimed that the prime minister had said that he did not need Patidars to win elections.
"I had thought that 'saheb' will talk about how he can help Patidars, or how to improve the future of jobless youth. I thought he will visit the houses of the Patidar youths who were killed (in 2015 agitation) to express condolences and give them assurance.
"But no. He (Modi) says he does not need Patidars to win elections (as) he will get the support of OBCs, SCs, and STs, but this is not the fight of Patidars alone but for the whole of Gujarat," the quota spearhead claimed.
Patel told the gathering that he didn't care whether the BJP wins or loses the elections.
"All I want to tell you is that make sure that our votes are meant for the the future of our kids," he said.
He said all communities, including Patidars, have raised their voice in unison saying that they wanted change not only in Gujarat but in the entire country.
"I call upon you to bring that change," Patel said.
He urged the audience to understand the "value of their votes".
"We will have to understand this...time is changing...people will not get education, our future is bleak, we will have to spend lakhs on education. Inflation is skyrocketing, while jobs are hard to come by," Patel said.
Taking a dig at the BJP, he said development did not mean only nice roads but it meant that everybody gets free education and jobs with honesty so one can live with pride.
"You have to show the power of the people. Hardik Patel is nothing and can only fight when you are behind me. It is not just reservation, but I'm here to fight even for diamond workers and traders," he said.
Appealing to Patidars, Patel said it would be "betrayal" for the community if they vote for the BJP.
"I'm not here to ask you to give vote to this or that party, but it will be a betrayal to your community if you vote for the BJP. Make them realise once what it means to commit atrocities on people," he said.
Patel asked people to take a pledge against voting for the BJP "because they committed atrocities on our people and killed innocents".
"I will not give my precious and pure vote (to the BJP). On December 14, at 11 am, I will vote to defeat the arrogant government and for the victory of the six crore Gujaratis," he said.
The second and final phase of the high-stake Gujarat elections is scheduled to be held on 14 December.
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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 08:43:09 IST