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Congess promises quota, gets Hardik Patel on board

Statesman News Service | Ahmedabad |

Indicating an end to the tussle with the Congress, Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday finally declared his organisation’s support to the party in next month’s Gujarat Assembly elections.

The Congress tie-up with the Patidar Anaamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which had spearheaded the Patel agitation for reservation in educational institutions and government jobs, had run into rough weather over seat allocation and an assurance on a job quota.

PAAS convenor Hardik Patel told reporters on Wednesday that the reservation formula offered by the Congress for his community will be over and above the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court on quotas for the SC, ST and OBCs.

The 24-year-old Patel leader said the Congress has promised to conduct a survey for providing reservation, if it comes to power. The Congress will introduce a Bill in the new state Assembly for providing reservation, Hardik said.

“Our fight is against the BJP and that is why we will directly or indirectly support Congress as it has accepted our demand for reservation,” the PAAS leader added.

The Congress has promised to include the PAAS demand in its manifesto, he said. As per the formula promised by the Congress, the quota for Patels would be provided under Articles 31(C) and 46 of the Constitution, Hardik said.

The new quota would be outside the current 49 per cent reservation available to Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC).

Hardik claimed that the Constitution has not mentioned that quotas cannot exceed 50 per cent.

“The Supreme Court has only given suggestions on this (quota limit). There is neither any law nor provision in the Constitution,” he said. The PAAS convenor also denied reports that there were any differences with the Congress over seat-sharing.

The PAAS had not demanded any seats but only asked the Congress to put up enough candidates with a strong character from the Patel community, he said.

He also accused the BJP of trying to buy up PAAS members by offering Rs 50 lakh each.