Gujarat polls: Congress finally seals deal with Hardik Patel

TIE-UP: Patel made the announcement on behalf of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti –

Ahmedabad: Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday announced his support to the Congress in the Gujarat Assembly election after it reached an understanding with him by promising job quotas to the agitating Patel community if it comes to power.
Hardik Patel made the much-awaited announcement on behalf of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) at a crowded press conference here and said the PAAS was formally accepting the “workable formula” advanced by the Congress.
“The Congress has accepted our demand for reservations with a formula that provides for benefits equivalent to OBCs constitutionally, without disturbing the present 49 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs,” Patel said.
“We are accepting the formula given to us by the Congress party.” Neither Patil nor Congress gave out details of the understanding reached on the reservation formula.
Senior Congress leader and former union minister Kapil Sibal, who had held discussions with Patel and other PAAS leades, said Hardik Patel would reveal the details of the formula at an appropriate time.
Sibal merely said that his party’s suggestions on providing quotas to Patidars in poll-bound Gujarat was “as per the Constitution”. But Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley mocked the agreement calling it an exercise at “deception of each other”.
“From the statements that I have seen so far, the Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception. The law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court and only last week in the Rajasthan case it has been reaffirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be breached.
“They can continue to mutually deceive each other and deceive the public by saying that we will devise a methodology by breaching the cap.Legally and constitutionally it is not possible as the law stands today,” he said.
Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel lashed out at Hardik Patel for accepting the Congress formula on job quotas and supporting it in the Assembly polls.
Flanked by other leaders of the PAAS, which has been campaigning for job quotas for the Patels, Hardik Patel brushed aside allegations by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that he was “a Congress
agent”.
“The Congress has accepted our demands though it is in opposition and has promised to even include it in its manifesto,” he said.
“In this situation, when the BJP tortured our youth and slapped false cases, including those of sedition, there is nothing wrong in supporting the Congress.
“Let the BJP call me a Congress agent. I am nobody’s agent, except that of the people. The BJP doesn’t have a land title to Gujarat, six crore people own the state.” — IANS