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Ahmedabad: Senior Gujarat minister Vasuben Trivedi on Friday ruled out conceding the Patel comunity's demands for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions in the state.
Trivedi, considered Chief Minister Anandiben Patel's "voice", said: "We follow the rule of law and under the Constitution, the Patels cannot be granted reservation."
Trivedi, the women's welfare minister, made the statement on the issue at a meeting in Gandhinagar even as the state government has been claiming that a cabinet sub-committee headed by Health Minister Nitin Patel is looking into the issues raised by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
A number of senior BJP leaders, including party MP Vithhal Radariya, who are mediating between the government and the PAAS, have publicly stated if the "Jats could be granted reservation in Haryana and Rajasthan, why not the Patels in Gujarat".
The reservation issue took a tragic turn on Thursday with the alleged suicide of a Patel youth in Dhoraji near Rajkot to press for the quota. The 22-year-old Prakash Patel is the second youth from the community to commit suicide.
A large number of Patel youths and others attended his funeral at his home village Moti Panoli in Rajkot district in Saurashtra region.
Prakash committed suicide by consuming poison in a guest house in Dhoraji, leaving behind a four-page note that he was ending his life in support of reservation for Patels.
His suicide had its echo in the ongoing budget session of the state assembly with the opposition Congress saying the suicide was a matter of shame for the state government.
Congress legislators asserted that the government was insensitive to the problems of the people.
Newly appointed state BJP president Vijay Rupani, meanwhile, advised the youths not to take any such extreme step and instead wait for a negotiated settlement of the issue.