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Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel's key aide Alpesh Kathiria and three other members of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) were today detained here for allegedly trying to stop a BJP MLA from meeting voters of Varachha area during his door-to-door campaign today, police said. However, the PAAS members were later released after their supporters gheraoed Varachha police station to protest against their detention. Kathiria, Dharmik Malaviya and two others were detained for allegedly trying to block BJP MLA from Karanj seat, Janak Kachhadia, from meeting local voters of Varachha area during the saffron party's door-to-door campaign ahead of the Assembly polls in December. On learning about their detention, PAAS members started gathering outside Varachha police station in large numbers. Amid slogans of 'Jay Sardar, Jay Patidar', they demanded immediate release of Kathiria and others. To avoid any unwarranted situation in the Patidar-dominated area, which had seen some of the worst quota-related violence in 2015, para-military force was also deployed outside the station, police said. An official of Varachha police station said, "We released Kathiria and three others today evening. The situation is now under control." After being released, Kathiria alleged that PAAS members were detained without any provocation.
He also announced to launch a drive to block BJP leaders from campaigning in the city. "We were detained by the police at the behest of the ruling BJP. From tomorrow, PAAS is launching a drive asking people to put banners outside their societies, declaring that no BJP leader should come there for canvassing. PAAS will impose section 144 for BJP leaders across Surat. We are determined to root out BJP this time," he told reporters.
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