The Congress today hit back at Union Minister Arun Jaitley for questioning an agreement reached between the party and Patidar leader Hardik Patel on quota for the Patel community in Gujarat. The Congress said the party will implement the quota in education and government jobs when it comes to power in the state and stressed that “it has the capability” to ensure the reservation by staying completely within the constitutional framework.
Earlier, Jaitley told reporters here that the agreement was legally untenable and that “the Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception”. He said the law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court in its verdict in the Mandal Commission case ruled that the total reservation for SC/ST and other backward classes or special categories should not exceed 50 per cent.
Referring to the bid for awarding quota to Gujjars in Rajasthan, Jaitley said the judiciary has re-affirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be increased.
Speaking to reporters here, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi suggested that Jaitley was ignoring the fact that the BJP-ruled Rajasthan has “breached” the 50 per cent cap and asked the minister to not engage in “doublespeak”.
“We are not in power in Gujarat today…when we will come in power there, we will implement it (quota) staying completely within constitutional framework. We have the capabilities to do that,” Singhvi said.
On Jaitley’s “mutual deception” jibe, Singhvi said “deception” will happen only if the Congress “does anything wrong” after coming into power in the state.
“But as we have said again and again, unlike the BJP, we are law-abiding and we will take steps within the Constitutional daayara (framework),” he added.
Singhvi further accused the BJP of befooling the people of Rajasthan by promising quota to one or the other community.
Despite being in power, the BJP has not fulfilled promises made to people on quota, he added.
Earlier in the day, Congress leader Kapil Sibal thanked Patidar leader Hardik Patel for declaring his support to the party in the Gujarat Assembly polls after it accepted the community’s quota demand, and said their united fight would dethrone the BJP.
Sibal, however, held his cards close to his chest when asked about details of the formula the Congress and the Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have worked out on the quota demand, and added that the related issues would be decided later.