Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday met the chairperson of the Other Backward Class Commission of Gujarat to push for quota benefits for his community along the lines of what the Maharashtra government had offered Marathas, PTI reported.

A delegation led by Patel met chairperson Sugnaben Bhatt and demanded that the panel carry out a survey of the Patidar community. “We met chairman of OBC Commission Sugnaben Bhatt and handed an 11-page letter asking her to conduct a survey that the entire Patel community is socially and educationally backward,” Patel said.

“We have demanded that the survey be started as soon as possible,” he said. “It is mandatory to prove in a survey that a community is backward and after that only it [community] becomes eligible to receive reservation.”

Patel said the panel has agreed to reply within a week. “The commission heard us and gave positive feedback,” he said.

Patel in his letter wrote about the worsening economic conditions of the state’s farmers, The Indian Express reported. “Those Patidars who got government jobs after 1960 have prospered economically and they moved ahead in business also,” he said. “However, those who were only attached to farming have remained poor. Their land is lost and have gone backward socially. They require reservation.”

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on November 18 Sunday said the Maratha community in the state would be accorded reservation under the socially and educationally backward class category. The government took the decision after studying the report that the State Backward Class Commission submitted on November 15. The state government has set up a Cabinet sub-committee to take statutory steps to implement the quota policy.

“We got a ray of hope after the decision of the Maharashtra government,” Patel said. The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader said the Bharatiya Janata Party, despite having been in power in the state for more than two decades, had not decided on granting quota to the Patidars.

“After only three-and-a-half years of being in power, the BJP government in Maharashtra has decided to give reservation to Marathas, while the BJP government of Gujarat, which is in power for the last 25 years, is not giving anything to us,” he said.

Former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wanted to bring the Patidars under the OBC fold, he claimed. “However, as soon as Anandiben began the procedure for it, some anti-Patidar leaders from Delhi had decided to politically remove her,” Patel said.

Claiming that former Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wanted to give OBC reservation to the Patidars, Hardik said: “However, as soon as Anandiben began the procedure for it, some anti-Patidar leaders from Delhi had decided to politically remove her.”