Hardik Patel announces Congress agrees to give reservation to Patidars

Congress to give reservation to Patidars: Hardik Patel

The Congress is counting on the Patidar votes to sway the election results of Gujarat polls in their favour and uproot the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been in power since 1995 in the state.

However, it remains to be seen how Congress manages to fulfill its promise considering that the Supreme Court in 1992 had set a ceiling of 50% reservation for all communities.

Though the deal was brokered by Congress legal eagle Kapil Sibal, he left it to Hardik to make the announcement to the media. There is no disagreement between the Congress and Patidar leaders. Also, he said Patidars will support Congress because if they come to power, then they will bring in a bill to grant reservation.

Comprising 12% of Gujarat's population and with potential influence over 60-odd of the state's 182 assembly seats, Patels have traditionally voted for the BJP but are angry over being denied quotas in jobs and education. "All we can share with you is that Congress and PAAS will work together to remove 22 years of misrule of BJP", he said.

Mr. Patel, however, refrained from pledging his support to Congress.

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Hardik said if voted to power, the Congress had chose to give quotas to Patidars under article 46, protected by article 31C of the Constitution.

He said PAAS members who had already filed nominations ceased to be members of the outfit.

"The law of the land is very clear and is laid down by the Supreme Court, and only reaffirmed last week in Rajasthan's case that 50 per cent reservation cap can not be breached. In my opinion, this formula of reservation is a big joke", Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad.

Nitin said Hardik Patel's motive was to back struggling Congress in the state and his campaign in the name of reservations to Patidars was a part of it.

Sibal, however, held his cards close to chest when asked about the details of the formula the Congress and the Patel- led PAAS had worked out, adding the related issues would be decided later. We have given a suggestion to them and when we suggest something, there is a lot of thinking behind it.

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