AHMEDABAD: Hardik Patel’s allegation that caste reservation in admissions to medical colleges in Gujarat deals a grave blow to the prospects of aspiring doctors from his Patel community, does not seem to hold up to a scrutiny of data.
The 22-year-old has alleged in hard-hitting speeches that those on quota lists with even 45 per cent marks in entrance tests have made it to medical colleges, depriving many Patel candidates with much higher marks of a place.
But statistics suggest that the Patels have done well. Out of the 4,200 seats in medicine, dental surgery and nursing courses this year, over a 1000 went to Patel candidates, shows data from Gujarat’s Admission Committee for Professional Medical Educational Courses (ACPMEC).
Also, the difference between the cut-off marks for students in reserved categories and those from the general category, which includes the Patels, has been no more than about 6% in the last three years.
So this year, while aspirants from the general category had to score 95 per cent to get admission to a medical college, those from Other Backward Castes (OBC), who get the benefit of reservation, had to score 91 per cent and those from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes, 89 per cent. The pattern was much the same in the last two years, with the cut-offs never going below the 84 per cent for any student.
Hardik Patel, the face of a massive agitation, wants the wealthy and influential Patels to be included in the list of socially and economically weaker sections in Gujarat so that they can get the benefit of reservation too in government jobs and colleges.
Other groups already included in the quota lists strongly oppose this and accuse Hardik Patel of running a misleading campaign. “There is a mere 3 to 4 per cent different between cut-offs for general and OBC categories in medical colleges…this is misleading propaganda,” said a Dalit activist, Jignesh Mewani.
Hardik Patel shrugged off the statistics, seeking to have the last word. “You are talking about 2015… I will get you data from 2011 – 12 – 13 – 14…I will get you the reports later…any more questions?” he said.