Hardik Patel threatens to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s rally if Congress doesn’t make its stand clear on Patidar reservation

Hardik Patel, who rose to prominence over agitation demanding reservation for Patidar community in 2015, seems to be putting up a final fight to remain relevant, at least till Gujarat elections conclude. After his video of allegedly meeting Gujarat Congress in-charge Ashok Gehlot went viral, Patel is back to being in news. However, this time, he wants to play by his own rules. In a surprise move, and in an attempt to gain back some credibility that he is not a Congress stooge, Hardik has threatened to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s upcoming rally in Surat on 3rd November.

Yesterday, Hardik tweeted that if Congress does not make its stand clear on reservation, he will repeat with the Patidars did with Amit Shah.

Hardik was referring to September 2016 rally of Amit Shah, also in Surat, which was held along with 44 Patidar MLAs of the BJP when Hardik was in Udaipur serving a bail condition. Earlier, there were reports that Hardik will join Rahul Gandhi during his rally in November.

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Recently, Congress had tried to woo the so called youth leaders who were leading various agitations against the government, Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor, to join Congress and put up a united fight against the BJP.

Alpesh was fighting for other backward class (OBC) reservation quota, and in turn, was opposing Hardik who also wanted Patidars to have share of the same pie. This led to things turning sour for these two. If Alpesh and Hardik join hands, both of them will find it difficult to explain to their communities on how they will be able to maintain their promise of reservation for their respective communities.

Congress, on the other hand has offered economically backward class (EBC) quota to Patidars. Interestingly, Hardik’s former aides Reshma Patel and Varun Patel have recently joined the BJP and had said PAAS leaders were indulging in politics for their vested interest.

The OBCs comprise 146 castes and make up around 40% of the state’s about 6.5 crore people. Patidars, who have been traditionally BJP supporters comprise about 12% of the population. Gujarat’s OBCs are given 27% quota in jobs and education. The scheduled castes have 7% and the scheduled tribes 15%, making a total of 49%, just under the 50% reservation cap set by the Supreme Court.

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