Patel reservation stir leader Hardik Patel on Sunday alleged that the BJP governments in Gujarat and Rajasthan wanted to nail him down to a virtual house arrest in Udaipur.Hardik, convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, told an Ahmedabad-based Gujarati TV channel that the Udaipur police was not allowing him to stir out of the house where he was staying.Hardik is lodged in a swanky three-storey bungalow in Rajasthan's Udaipur after a court ordered him to remain away from his native state Gujarat for six months. The bungalow belongs to Puskarlal Patel (Dangi), a former Congress MLA and president of the Patel community in Udaipur.The address of his stay has been mentioned in his undertaking to the Gujarat High Court, which had granted bail to him on July 11 in the last of the cases against him and thus facilitated his release after nearly 10 months in jail.
"The Gujarat government seems to have asked its party's dispensation in Rajasthan to keep me confined to this house," Hardik said. Hardik Patel has got bail in two sedition cases and one on the attack on the office of Visnagar BJP MLA Hrishikesh Patel and other government properties during the reservation agitation. Hardik claimed that on Sunday morning he wanted to visit a Lord Ganesh temple in Udaipur to offer prayers but as soon as he sat in the car the police came running asking him to return home.He told the police that the high court order was only to stay away from Gujarat for six months and there was no clause that he should confine himself to a house outside Gujarat. He alleged that the Udaipur police would not budge and said he needed prior police permission if he wanted to step out.
The discussions gave way to a war of words and more police personnel were summoned lest he insisted on defying the police order. "I was forced to return to the house without going to the temple as I did not want any violence because of me," Hardik said.The Patidar stir leader said apparently the Udaipur police was behaving in such a way "only at the request of the Gujarat government". He said he believed that the Anandiben Patel government was worried of his movements in Udaipur, which had a large concentration of Patel population.
"There are about 1.50 lakh Gujarati Patels living in Udaipur and the Gujarat government wants to ensure that I don't get the chance to meet them," Hardik said.The Gujarat High Court, while granting him bail in two sedition cases, had put the condition that he would not enter Gujarat for six months and, for another case, in Mehsana district, the hotbed of the Patel reservation agitation, for nine months.Meanwhile, the PAAS is resuming its reservation agitation which was dormant for the past several months. The samiti began with a rally in Visnagar town in Mehsana district on Sunday, in which thousands of Patels shouting anti-government slogans participated.