Gujarat CM faces women's protest in home district

Mehsana (Gujarat)


A day after Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel asserted there was no question of providing quota in jobs and education to Patidars, men and women from her community on Wednesday demonstrated as she campaigned in her home district of Mehsana.

Police charged with canes at over 500 protestors, more than half of them women, who broke through barricades here as they vented their anger against the chief minister as she campaigned in north Gujarat for the second phase of the local government bodies elections slated for November 29.

The state's first woman chief minister - who turned 75 two days ago - was scheduled to address an election rally in Nagarpur locality.

The first phase of polling was held on Sunday for six municipal corporations, controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party for nearly two decades. The next round will see elections to 56 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 250 taluka panchayats in rural and semi-urban areas. The results would be out on December 2.

"It took just a few minutes to quell the mob. Nobody was injured," an official manning the police control room in Mehsana district said.

Another protest was held by Patel community members in Visnagar town in the district by beating metal plates with rolling pins. They were supporting the agitation for reservation in jobs and educational institutions under the Other Backward Classes category.

The BJP's election managers fear the agitation by the Patidars could have an adverse impact on the ruling party in the elections to the 323 local bodies, majority of which are in the party kitty at present.

"Let them create a din by beating metal utensils with spoons, but the people of Mehsana will vote for the BJP," the chief minister told the media. - IANS