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Hardik Patel not to meet Rahul Gandhi in ongoing Gujarat tour, meets NCP’s Praful Patel

Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti is seeking other backward classes status for the community that would entitle it to reservation in education and government jobs.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 01, 2017 22:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Ahmedabad, Hindustan Times
Hardik Patel,Rahul Gandhi,Praful Patel
PAAS convener Hardik Patel during a road show in Bhavnagar/(PTI File)

Patidar leader Hardik Patel won’t meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his ongoing tour of Gujarat, an aide said on Wednesday, setting November 6 deadline for the party to spell out the plan for the quota it has promised the community.

Patel-led Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (Paas) is seeking other backward classes (OBC) status for the community that would entitle it to reservation in education and government jobs.

The opposition Congress is trying to woo the Patels, who have traditionally backed the ruling BJP but are upset over being denied quota, ahead of the December assembly election.

“The Paas core committee has decided not have any talks with the Congress until the party clears its stand on how it will allot the economically backward class (EBC) reservation to Patidars,” co-convener Dinesh Bambania said.

The Congress, out of power in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for around 22 years, has promised EBC status to the community, which accounts for 12% of the population and can influence outcome in 60 of the state’s 182 assembly seats.

The Congress promised a constitutional way out and should spell out the plan by November 6 “else the Paas will not hold any talk with it”, Bambania said.

Patel and his aides met Congress leaders on Monday during which the 24-year-old Paas leader agreed to take the talks further on the EBC quota.

But some social and religious bodies of the community, comprising farmers, diamond merchants and industrialists, accused Patel of misleading them.

“When the government has met all the demand of Patidars, including an EBC commission, by continuing the agitation, Hardik is misleading the community. The Congress’s offer for EBC is a lollipop,” AM Patel of Umiya Foundation said at a press conference.

Representatives of six such bodies were also present at the press meet.

Voting for the Gujarat assembly will held on December 9 and 14 and results declared on December 18.

Gandhi on Wednesday started a three-day tour of south Gujarat and again hit out at the Modi government over demonetisation and its alleged mishandling of economy.

First Published: Nov 01, 2017 20:29 IST