Congress finally seals deal with Hardik Patel

Marie Harrington
November 25, 2017

"My fight in Gujarat is against the BJP and that is why we will directly or indirectly support Congress (in the elections) as it has accepted our demand for reservation", Hardik told reporters in Ahmedabad.

The Congress on Sunday had announced its first list of 77 candidates for the Gujarat Assembly elections and included only two aides of Hardik- Lalit Vasoya and Nilesh Patel. The party will bring a Bill in the state Assembly and give reservation, he said.

Neither Patil nor Congress gave out details of the understanding reached on the reservation formula.

He said his outfit has never appealed anyone to vote for the Congress Party; but since the latter is talking about the rights of the Partidars, the voting decision will be left to the people.

Giving quota to Patidars was not constitutionally valid, Patel said that the said pact between Congress and Patidars was just for political gains.

"The Patidars have always been victimised".

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But Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley mocked the agreement calling it an exercise at "deception of each other".

While Hardik has denied having asked the Congress for more tickets, he seemed to be under pressure from some senior PAAS functionaries to drive a hard bargain with the grand old party, the sources said. "In the name of reservation, Congress has given a "lollipop" to Hardik". "I am of the firm opinion that reservation can be given over 50 per cent", he said. "BJP using its tactics as it fears defeat". But his associates got agitated over the first list of candidates released by the Congress.

"The Congress has promised that a survey would be carried out within Patel or any other forward community as per the provisions of the OBC Commission and on this basis parameters of economic, social, educational or employment would be used to extend reservation benefits to Patels and other forward communities", Patel said.

Despite Hardik's attempt to keep his flock together, three or four PAAS functionaries are believed to be in touch with the BJP, something that has prompted him to take complete control of his organisation and form a new team in the coming days.

On Wednesday, Hardik Patel expressed his "direct or indirect" support for the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat elections.

A further delay in announcing his support to the Congress could have resulted in a few others leaving him since parties such as the BJP and NCP are more than willing to accommodate them.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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