Vandalism, boos mar event attended by India's ruling party president

Shah paid floral tributes at Vivekananda's home. Photograph:( Getty )

DNA Surat, Gujarat, India Sep 08, 2016, 07.12 PM (IST)

There was massive chaos at a programme attended by India's ruling party BJP President Amit Shah in Surat, Gujarat, on Thursday.

Supporters of Hardik Patel, the face of Patidar reservation protests, damaged furniture and booed speakers including the BJP president. They also repeatedly chanted Patel's name to demonstrate their support for him.

Chaos prevailed outside the venue as well as in Mota Varraccha area where Patidar community members from the locality hurled stones at the police.

?The function was wound up hastily within minutes, with Patel leaders cutting short their speeches while Shah spoke only for four minutes amid sloganeering.

The event was organised by prominent Patel businessmen in Surat to felicitate BJP leaders of their community in the presence of party chief Amit Shah.

BJP, which is struggling hard to regain the support of numerically strong Patidars in Gujarat after the community led by Patel launched the quota agitation, made this event a prestige issue.

City-based prominent businessmen formed a group called 'Patidar Abhivadan Samiti' to honour new state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, Gujarat's deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and senior ministers of Patel community.

"This felicitation of Patidar leaders is for the community, is for the state and is for the nation," said full page advertisements given in vernacular newspapers across the state by the organisation. 

The Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had earlier made its intention clear that it is going to oppose the felicitation programme. But few would have guessed that things would go out of control there.

(WION with inputs from agencies)