The Gujarat Congress and the Hardik Patel led-Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) today said that they have reached an agreement over the issue of granting reservation to Patels, if the Congress is voted to power in the state Assembly election. The official announcement about the nitty-gritty of the reservation formula and the PAAS’ stand on supporting the Congress during the Gujarat polls will be announced by Hardik Patel at a public gathering in Rajkot tomorrow, PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania said after the crucial meeting on the issue. Hardik Patel was not present in the meeting. “Earlier, we had asked the Congress to clarify how they would grant Patidars a constitutionally valid reservation. Today, we held a crucial meeting on that issue and finally reached a consensus on various options offered by the party to us. Official announcement of this agreement will be made by Hardik tomorrow in Rajkot,” said Bambhania, a key aide of Hardik Patel.
“I can say that we are in agreement with the Congress about their formula of granting reservation. We have not talked anything about giving tickets to PAAS. Hardik would announce tomorrow whether PAAS would support the Congress during the polls or not,” he told reporters after the meeting. The meeting with PAAS leaders was attended by Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki and senior Congress leaders Siddharth Patel and Babubhai Mangukia. Solanki claimed the meeting yielded a “positive outcome”. “The meeting was successful and yielded a positive outcome. We both agreed to implement this agreement in coming days,” he said.
A week ago PAAS leaders and senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal held a meeting over the issue, following which, Hardik Patel had said he was satisfied with the three options submitted by the Congress on how the party would grant reservation to Patels if voted to power. Hardik Patel had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the Assembly polls, due next month, only if the party committed itself to allotting reservation in education and government jobs to his community. The polling for the two-phase elections in Gujarat will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.