Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday said the Congress had agreed to give reservation to the community.
At a press conference, Patel said the Congress promised to bring in a bill on reservation for Patidars when they come to power in Gujarat. However, he added that the Congress will have to put “this reservation formula with details in their election manifesto”.
His volte face came hours after the Patidar leader had said he had not sought tickets for the Assembly elections, and that the Congress was no different from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. “Both the BJP and the Congress are the same. For them, people are of no value...Just use your wisdom while casting your vote and choose the one who assures you justice,” he had said.
However, at his press conference, Patel accused the Bharatiya Janata Party of horse-trading and offering Rs 50 lakh to Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convenors in North Gujarat. “The BJP is using its tactics as it fears defeat,” he said. “We are not openly extending support to the Congress, but we will fight the BJP. So directly or indirectly, there will be support to the Congress.”
He said the PAAS has not appealed to the people yet to vote for the Congress. “But since they are talking about our rights, we leave it on people to decide,” he said. “Do not waste your vote by voting for BJP. They believe people are stupid,” he added, according to News18.
Patel also reiterated that he had not sought tickets from anybody to contest the elections. “I am not joining any party,” he stressed.
Patel was supposed to formally support the Congress and announce the reservation formula that the two parties had decided during a rally on Monday. However, the rally was cancelled following a clash on Sunday night between the Congress and the Patidar outfit after the party announced its first list of 77 candidates for the elections, leaving only three seats for the Patidar outfit.
The Gujarat Assembly elections will be held in two phases – on December 9 and December 14. The results will be declared on December 18.