Gujarat election 2017: Trying to woo Patidar voters in Gujarat, the Congress on Wednesday promised it would provide reservation to the community if voted to power. However, the party did not reveal the details as to how Patidars would get reservation. The party merely said it would be within the framework of the Constitution. Patidars were met with arguments from several opponents in the past that total reservation cannot be over 50 per cent. Congress’ promise without a detailed plan prompted Arun Jaitley to issue a statement. Gujarat deputy CM, Nitin Patel, termed the promise as a big joke. While on the other hand, Congress leaders too stepped up the attack, saying the party will fulfill its promise.
Here are some arguments and counter-arguments:
PAAS leader Hardik Patel has said the Patidar group has accepted Congress’s formula to give reservation to the Patidar community at par with OBCs. Hardik said, “We accept formula given by Congress party to give reservation at par with OBC to non-reserved categories.” On the arguments that quota is legally not possible, Hardik said that Indian constitution doesn’t bar 50 per cent reservation.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that breaching the 50 per cent reservation cap was “legally and constitutionally” not possible. “The law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court and only last week in the Rajasthan case it has been re-affirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be breached,” Jaitley said. The finance minister added that Congress and PAAS can continue to “deceive each other and deceive the public” by saying they will devise a methodology of breaching the cap.
Detailing his argument, Jaitley said that one can cite Article 31 (C) and say that he will put in the Ninth Schedule but that entry is also subject to judicial review.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal, assigned for holding discussions with Patidar leaders to arrive at a mutually agreeable formula, said the quota will be provided to the community within the legal framework. He said: “You will get to know everything. These things will be decided. The first goal is to struggle and win the elections and after that we have to implement the promises made…. We have given a suggestion and certainly we have thought through it before giving the suggestion…. This reply is enough.”
Nitin Patel, the deputy chief minister of Gujarat, termed the formula of reservation offered by the Congress to the Patidars as a “big joke”. He further accused quota stir leader Hardik Patel of misguiding the community. The Gujarat Deputy CM added that any quota in government jobs and educational institutions exceeding the 50% cap put by the Supreme Court is something “offered by fools and also accepted by fools.”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi
Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi accused the BJP of fooling people. He said: “If you want to see who has fooled whom, you go and see it in Rajasthan. The BJP is a ruling party there. It fools people every day. Sometimes they talk about Jat reservation, sometimes Gujjar reservation. They are in power, they can fulfill the promise, yet they don’t.”