In a meeting between Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Congress leaders on late Wednesday  night, the latter reportedly offered three options to choose from in response to the community demands, including that for reservation.

The Congress had earlier accepted four of the five demands that the PAAS leaders had put forth. On the last demand, Congress leaders who attended the meeting had asked for time to consult lawyers and senior party leaders before committing to the cause.

A senior leader of PAAS, Dinesh Bambhania, after the meeting, said, “We have been given three options by the Congress party on how to provide reservation to our community in educational institutions and government jobs.” Bambhania, however, did not elaborate on what the offered options were and the result of the discussion would be known in a day or two after the PAAS leaders discuss the offer and accept an option out of the three offered or reject the proposal.

Bhambhania further added, “The options that have been given will be kept confidential till we discuss it with Hardik, social leaders of the community and legal experts. If the community accepts the demand, we will convey it accordingly to the Congress party.”

The only important information that the leader shared was that the Congress proposal has not touched the existing 49 per cent reservation that already is available under the constitution for SCs, STs, and OBCs and is over and above the existing said limit.

“The Congress proposal has not touched 49 per cent reservations for SCs, STs, and OBCs existing in the state. The options that have been given are over and above it,” said Bambhania after the meeting with Congress leaders. The leader mentioned that overall the meeting happened in a very positive and cordial environment and that both the parties are happy with the developments. Former Union minister Kapil Sibbal represented the Congress in the meeting.

Kapil Sibal of the Congress expressed his satisfaction with the outcome, saying “after sharing our views with the PAAS leaders, we feel there is hope for a breakthrough to formally forge an alliance”. He said he was hopeful that something can be worked out. Before that Bambhania had informed those present in the meeting that PAAS had already rejected the offer by the Congress to offer reservation to the Patidar community under the economically backward class.

The parties have again decided to meet in a few days’ time to take the discussion to a conclusive end. To wrap up the interaction, Sibal further said, “We have discussed all the aspects and will do all the things (to provide reservation to the Patidar community) as per the Constitution.”