Top Congress leaders met with leaders of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti to discuss poll alliance. The meeting did not reach to any conclusion over the politically crucial issue of the OBC quota to Patidars.
Patidar leader Bambhania said that Congress shows political will to provide quota, unlike BJP. After conducting a marathon meeting with top Congress leaders including senior party leader and a Supreme court lawyer, members of Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) said that the meeting was satisfactory and stressed that the final decision on quota will be taken after having consultation with Hardik, legal experts and office-bearers of key religious and social organisations- Umiyadham of Unjha and Khodaldham of Kagwad.
“Congress provides us constitutional options to give the quota which will not intervene into existing 49 per cent quota,” said Bambhania adding that the formula given by the Congress will remain confidential.
“Other states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan has provided quota to the agitating communities. Congress assured to provide quota as per the quota given in those states,” said Bambhania hinting at separate provision of quota for Patidars.
“After holding the discussions on the options given by Congress with Hardik, legal experts and two key organisations Khodaldham and Umiyadham, we will hold a final meeting with Congress leaders on our demand of quota,” said Bambhania.
After PAAS addressed the reporters at Gujarat Congress Bhavan in Paldi area of the city, Sibal too did not disclose his party’s card over quota.
“It was a long discussion and we exchanged several things. But it cannot be discussed with the media,” said Sibal.
When asked if the quota can be given to Patidars under the constitutional ambit which is constantly being denied by the BJP, Sibal said, ” BJP has a very little understanding about the constitution. But as far as the question of quota is concerned, we will try to find out some possible way.”
Earlier, on October 30, a meeting between PAAS and Congress leaders ended in a win-win mood for all as the main opposition party in the state agreed to four out of five demands of the Patidar outfit. The Congress assured the five-member PAAS delegation of withdrawing all criminal cases, including sedition charges, against Hardik and others if they come to power in the state. However, the question of how quota benefits are to be given to Patidars was left pending. The Congress and PAAS leaders stated that the final decision will be taken after consulting constitutional experts.
Later, Congress asked Kapil Sibal to look into the Patidar demand. Sibal has now submitted his report to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to take the final call.
PAAS members have been agitating since their leader, Hardik, organized a huge public gathering of the community at GMDC ground in August 2015. This was followed by widespread violence in the state that had claimed nine lives.