NEW DELHI: Youth leader Hardik Patel has organised a farmers’ public meeting today in Vanthali, in Gujarat’s Junagadh district. The Kisan Satyagraha meeting is to be held just after the unveiling of Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s Statue of Unity by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Narmada district of Gujarat.

Speaking to The Citizen on the afternoon of the protest, Hardik Patel, convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), said that the Kisan Satyagraha meeting will raise the “injustice being done to the farmers of Gujarat”.

"Sardar Patel was a leader of the farmers and always worked for the welfare of farmers. I want to take the principles of Sardar Patel ahead and work for the farmer's cause," he said.

Hardik Patel added, "My demands are for the farmers to get a good price for their agricultural inputs and produce, farming tools and other important items at subsidised rates, including power and water for irrigation with regular supply."

Evaluating the present situation, he said that the central and state governments had "failed miserably" on the farmers' front. "Gujarat’s western districts don't have access to proper drinking water, sanitation or health facilities. The government is spending huge amounts of money, Rs 3000 crore, on building the statue and on decorations, but ignoring the basic demands of the citizen which are water, food, health and education."

Patel continued, "We will organise more and more protest rallies and make people aware about the wrongdoings and false promises of the BJP government, both at the central and state level."

Hardik Patel, a recognised leader of the influential Patidar community in Gujarat with specific appeal to the youth, has made agrarian unrest the plank for this rally, in the run up to the elections.

A small statue of Sardar Patel will be installed shortly at Vanthali and farmers participating in the rally offered floral tributes.

Senior BJP leader and former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, and BJP MP from Patna Shatrughan Sinha also arrived in Gujarat to address the meeting.