Cong Must Clarify Stance on Patidar Quota By 7 Nov: Hardik Patel
The ruling BJP, meanwhile, accused Patel and the Congress of misleading the Patidar community.
Convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Hardik Patel met Gujarat Congress Pradesh Congress Committee office bearers on Monday, 30 October, to discuss the issue of Patidar reservation — a precondition set by PAAS leader Hardik Patel for extending support to the party in the Assembly polls.
After the three-hour long meeting at the Congress's state headquarters, PAAS leaders said they will hold another round of discussion by 7 November to resolve the issue.
Hardik Patel, who skipped the meeting, said the next round of negotiations will be the final.
If we have been fighting for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for two-and-a-half years, then waiting for a few days is not a big deal. But the next meeting on the issue will be the last and final.Hardik Patel
Last Saturday, Hardik Patel threatened to disrupt Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's proposed rally in Surat if the main opposition party in Gujarat did not make clear how it will provide quotas to the Patidar community. However, he has now said he will not oppose Rahul Gandhi's rally.
Gandhi is scheduled to campaign in poll-bound Gujarat from 1 to 3 November. Patel said he will take the final call on meeting Gandhi after consulting the core committee of the PAAS.
The ruling BJP, meanwhile, accused Patel and the Congress of misleading the Patidar community with the latter's claim that the opposition party has accepted all the demands of the community.
The main demand of the PAAS and Hardik Patel was reservation under OBC quota. The Congress and PAAS should clarify if the Congress will give reservations under OBC quota to the community.Nitin Patel, Deputy Chief Minister
The Congress has been reluctant about promising quotas to the influential patidar community under the other backward classes category and offered them reservation under a separate grouping – economically backward classes.
After the meeting, the PAAS members who met Congress leaders told reporters that the party agreed on four of their five main demands.
"As far as the issue of reservation is concerned, we have decided to meet again to discuss its technical and legal aspects so as to ensure that it is technically and legally sound," said PAAS convener Alpesh Kathiriya.
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