In a major boost for the Congress ahead of the crucial Gujarat polls, PAAS leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday announced his support to the party after it agreed to give reservation to Patels.
In a press conference in Ahmedabad, the firebrand Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader said Congress has agreed to give Patidars reservations under section 31 and provisions of section 46.
“Congress has accepted our demand and have agreed to give Patidars reservation under section 31 and provisions of section 46… Congress will bring in a bill when they come in power in,” Patel said.
Clarifying that he wasn’t joining the Congress, Patel said the PAAS would ensure the defeat of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has “victimised” the Patidar community in the state.
“I didn’t ask for ticket from congress and I am not joining the party. We are not openly extending support to Congress, but we will fight BJP. So directly or indirectly, there will be support to Congress,” he said.
Hardik Patel was supposed to announce the support to Congress earlier but after differences cropped up between PAAS and the Congress over seat sharing in Botad assembly constituency, the announcement was postponed.
It was only after the Congress accommodated as many as five of the 89 candidates in the first phase of polls that Hardik Patel decided to back Congress.
The PAAS has been agitating against the government for more than two years over the issue of reservation for the Patidar community and has pledged to oppose the ruling BJP in the coming state assembly elections in December.
The first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections for 89 seats will be held on December 9 and for the remaining 93 on December 14. The results will be announced along with that of Himachal Pradesh assembly on December 18.