Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convener Hardik Patel on Saturday appealed to leaders in Gujarat to help him renew the agitation for Patidar reservation during the Patidar Panchayat at Moti Malvan village in Surendranagar district. Patel said 12 Congress MLAs had accepted his invite to attend the event, but 24 Bharatiya Janata Party legislators had not. However, he added that had the BJP legislators attended, they would not have been allowed to join, PTI reported.

“They (BJP) are trying to see how the agitation breaks up,” he said, according to PTI. “Those (from the community) who oppose our demand have taken money from the BJP. So it is our duty to keep the community together.” He added that he was ready to go to jail for his cause. Patel currently faces charges of rioting and sedition.

His Patidar outfit had supported the Congress in the state polls in December 2017. Patel appealed to the Congress MLAs to support the demand for reservation. “You [Congress] have to become our voice in the assembly,” the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.

The BJP had won the Gujarat polls with 99 seats in the 182-member Assembly. Analysts had attributed their slim victory to losses in Patidar constituencies.