Fourteen days into his indefinite hunger fast, Patidar leader Hardik Patel was on Friday afternoon rushed to a hospital by his loyal band of supporters while the ruling BJP continued to remain indifferent to his agitation.
His associates forcibly took the adamant Hardik to state government-run Sola Civil Hospital after he fell down in the washroom and complained of breathlessness. He has lost over 20 kg weight during the last two weeks.
Patel gave up taking even water on Thursday night after his 24-hour ultimatum to the government to hold negotiations over his three demands ended. He was not taking water ever since his fast began on August 25 but a Patel religious leader convinced him to drink water on the seventh day of the fast.
He has been demanding reservations for his community, debt waiver to farmers and release of his associate Alpesh Kathiria, who is in jail on sedition charges.
Minutes after he was hospitalized, the 25-year-old Hardik tweeted in Hindi that, “I am having difficulty in breathing. I have been admitted to hospital. The BJP (and its government) are ignoring farmers woes and demands of Patidars.”
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Geeta Patel, a close associate and member of Patel’s core team, told reporters, “Hardikbhai was not willing to go to hospital and was adamant with his fast. But today when he went to washroom, he fell on the ground. After that all of us decided to rush him to hospital and brought him her forcibly”.
In hospital also, he continued his fast and di not consume anything by himself through his mouth.
A three-member team of doctors, including a nephrologist, are treating Patel in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patel’s blood and urine samples have been taken and the reports are awaited.
The Vijay Rupani-led BJP government has set the police department after his supporters across the State to prevent them to reach him, and has posted a posse of police force outside his residence in Greenwood Resorts colony. Hundreds of Patidar supporters have been rounded during the last two weeks and the police had often lathi-charged them to disperse them.
The government has been maintaining that Patel’s agitation was sponsored by the Congress and was doing its best for the Patidars.
Hardik Patel’s pitched agitation for reservations to his community in government jobs and educational institutions was largely instrumental in pushing the BJP close to defeat in the December 2017 State Assembly elections.
His indefinite fast is a spirited attempt to revive his agitation and he chose August 25 to start it. It was the same day in 2015 when he surprised the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress alike with his massive rally at the sprawling GMDC Grounds in Ahmedabad to launch his agitation.
The government had refused him permission to launch his hunger fast from the same GMDC Grounds on August 25 as well as at any other place. Finally, Patel began his fast programme from his residence.
The 25-year-old has received an avalanche of support from across the State during his two-week old fast and hordes of Patidar youngsters awaited outside the government-run hospital.