It's official: Hardik comes out to support Congress

 Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday announced his support to the Congress in the Gujarat Assembly election after it reached an understanding with him by promising job quotas to the agitating Patel community if it comes to power.

Hardik Patel made the much-awaited announcement on behalf of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) at a crowded press conference here and said the PAAS was formally accepting the “workable formula” advanced by the Congress. “The Congress has accepted our demand for reservations with a formula that provides for benefits equivalent to OBCs constitutionally, without disturbing the present 49 per cent quota for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs,” Patel said. “We are accepting the formula given to us by the Congress party.” Neither Patil nor Congress gave out details of the understanding reached on the reservation formula. Senior Congress leader and former union minister Kapil Sibal, who had held discussions with Patel and other PAAS leades, said Hardik Patel would reveal the details of the formula at an appropriate time. Sibal merely said that his party’s suggestions on providing quotas to Patidars in poll-bound Gujarat was “as per the Constitution”. Mutual deception, says Jaitley But Finance Minister and BJP leader Arun Jaitley mocked the agreement calling it an exercise at “deception of each other”. “From the statements that I have seen so far, the Congress-Hardik club is one of mutual deception. The law of the land is very clear and that is laid down by the Supreme Court and only last week in the Rajasthan case it has been reaffirmed that the 50 per cent cap cannot be breached. “They can continue to mutually deceive each other and deceive the public by saying that we will devise a methodology by breaching the cap. Legally and constitutionally it is not possible as the law stands today,” he said. Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel lashed out at Hardik Patel for accepting the Congress formula on job quotas and supporting it in the Assembly polls, calling him a “fool”. “Fools have given a formula and fools have accepted it,” a fuming Nitin Patel said. “I have not seen a more foolish person than Hardik. He is young boy. He may have got some love from the community but they are going to perish soon.” ‘I am nobody’s agent’ Flanked by other leaders of the PAAS, which has been campaigning for job quotas for the Patels, Hardik Patel brushed aside allegations by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that he was “a Congress agent”. “The Congress has accepted our demands though it is in opposition and has promised to even include it in its manifesto,” he said. “In this situation, when the BJP tortured our youth and slapped false cases, including those of sedition, there is nothing wrong in supporting the Congress. “Let the BJP call me a Congress agent. I am nobody’s agent, except that of the people. The BJP doesn’t have a land title to Gujarat, six crore people own the state.” Hardik Patel said the Congress had said that if it won the Gujarat elections, it would pass a proposal for reservations under Articles 31-C and 46 of the Constitution. He insisted that the Constitution nowhere said more than 50 per cent reservations could not be given. “The Supreme Court has only given suggestions on this. There is neither any law nor provision in the Constitution.” He said a new Gujarat government would talk to all the stakeholders and set up a separate Commission. “The Congress has promised that a survey would be carried out within Patel or any other forward community as per the provisions of the OBC Commission and on this basis parameters of economic, social, educational or employment would be used to extend reservation benefits to Patels and other forward communities,” Patel said. He claimed that since 1994, many states, including Gujarat, had given quotas beyond 50 per cent and in states as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka such reservation had been in existence for 15 to 17 years. Patel said he was accepting the formula not just on behalf of PAAS but after speaking to several community leaders and key religious organisations – Khodaldham and Umiyadham. However, heads of both these bodies denied having received any details about the Congress formula. (IANS) // ]]>

Congress, Patidars reach Botad seat deal, save pact

Gujaratis said to clever but they’re not: Hardik

 PAAS leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday said Gujaratis were believed to be very clever but they have not been for last 22 years, adding that Patel agitation leaders had not sought tickets from any political party or wished to contest polls.

Hardik Patel’s statement comes in the wake of an agreement by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) with the Congress on reservations for the Patels. Speaking at a public rally at Tragad village near Dholka town, an hour’s drive from Ahmedabad, Hardik Patel again did not speak on extending direct support to the Congress in the December assembly elections that would have been music to Congress ears. Quiet for the last 48 hours, the PAAS leader was expected to announce support for the Congress after the party bowed to PAAS pressure and changed as many as five of the 89 candidates in the first phase of polls on December 9. Continuing his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, he said: “I am openly saying we are fighting against the BJP and will defeat it.” “People in India and across the globe wrongly believe that we Gujaratis are clever as we are a business community. But the fact is we are not… the only thing left now is to write on our forehead — I am not clever,” Hardik Patel said. “The 182 legislators are not at fault. Neither is the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister. It is us who elect such donkeys as leaders.” Maintaining that he did not oppose Modi at a personal level, he lashed out at the Prime Minister. “He will become a dictator. After 2019, he will ensure there are no elections.” “He (PM) said in Uttar Pradesh that he gives 24-hour electricity in Gujarat but never did. He has used us across the country… he is wrong, wrong, and wrong. So, I fight him,” the PAAS leader said. On quotas, Hardik said he never opposed or sought benefits extended to scheduled castes or tribes or other backward classes. “What we asked for is benefits similar to the OBC community,” he added. “We never asked any political party for contesting or for tickets for elections. Our main and sole aim is to get reservation for the Patel community.” (with IANS)  
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Patidars rebel as Cong releases first Gujarat list

PAAS and Congress workers clash in multiple locations in Gujarat. Congress offices ransacked after tickets announced. Bharat Solanki’s house gheraoed. Torrid affair I must say!

— Amit Malviya (@malviyamit) November 19, 2017 Earlier reports from Ahmedabad said the PAAS and Congress had agreed upon a formula for reservation to Patels if the party comes to power after the December elections. The details of the agreement are to be announced by PAAS leader Hardik Patel at Rajkot on Monday, a Patidar leader was quoted as saying. Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki represented the Congress at the meet. On Saturday, PAAS leaders had given the Congress party a 24-hour deadline to declare their stand on the reservation status for the community. (with IANS) // ]]>

Hardik Patel sex tape rocks poll-bound Gujarat

Read at Lokmarg
Congress in a quandary over Hardik sex tapes

His supporters claimed the video was morphed. Patel said it was a conspiracy against him by the ruling BJP, which was “known to be adept at this”. He pointed out that sometime ago, BJP insiders floated such a video of one of their own leaders Sanjay Joshi.

The Sanjay Joshi echo

Sanjay Joshi is a BJP member from Gujarat, and was the rising star from that state until a sex CD that purported to feature him surfaced in 2005, and he was removed from all party posts. The CD is believed to be have been doctored. Joshi’s feud with Prime Minister Modi is the stuff of political legend. The prime minister and Joshi have been at odds since the Shankersinh Vaghela revolt of 1995 when Keshubhai Patel was dethroned as chief minister and Modi banished from Gujarat by the party. Patel made a comeback in the 1998 elections; he was succeeded by Modi in 2001. Joshi stayed out in the cold. Joshi was reinstated in the party’s national executive in 2011; the next year saw his removal from the post again, a move widely reported to be at Modi’s behest.

TwitterLok

(Reproduced tweets do not reflect Lokmarg editorial policy)
(IANS) // ]]>

Hardik Patel draws his line for Congress

Not a threat, says Congress

The Congress on Saturday sought to downplay the ultimatum given by Patidar stir leader Hardik Patel to clarify its position on quotas for Patels by November 3 and said the party will respond to it. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said the party did not consider Patel’s remarks as a threat and added that the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader had expressed his opinion. “I do not consider it a threat. He has expressed his opinion. Congress believes in transparency and communication and not in doing deals worth crores behind curtains. Whatever he has tweeted, we will reply,” Khera said at the party briefing.  Khera, at one point, however, commented on Patel’s language and said “I don’t think that anybody in politics speaks the language.” “He has of course expressed his views and I am glad that people do that in public domain,” Khera added.
Earlier, CCTV footage of Hardik Patel sneaking into a five-star hotel in Ahmedabad where Rahul Gandhi was staying during his last visit to Gujarat was shown on various television channels. The BJP has been alleging for long that the Patidar quota stir was supported by Congress from behind the scenes. The CCTV footage of the hotel visit and the audio clips of Narendra Patel have now given the BJP enough matter with which to attack the Patidar leader. The Congress says that it will uphold the current 49 per cent quotas for SC/ST and OBCs and bring about legal provisions for providing 20 per cent quotas for the unreserved communities of the society. “We would provide quotas for the poor and middle class strictly as per the Constitution,” Manish Doshi, Congress spokesperson, said. (IANS) // ]]>

Hardik meets Rahul! CCTV footage rocks Gujarat

The already heated up political atmosphere in Gujarat has got curiouser amid rumours that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi quietly met Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, who has been maintaining that he would not join the opposition and his fight was against the ruling BJP.

After local Gujarati TV channels on Monday splashed CCTV grabs of Patel entering a luxury hotel around 2 a.m. and leaving after Rahul Gandhi had checked in there, Hardik Patel admitted at a public meeting and then told reporters on Monday evening that he met AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot, but stressed that he did not see Gandhi. “The Congress leaders had invited me to meet them but I was at a rally in Mahisagar district. I reached very late, may be 3 a.m., and met Ashok Gehlot. I presented the demands of the Patidars and the issues we are concerned about,” Patel said. “It had got very late, so I put up at the hotel and left in the morning,” the Patel leader said. He stressed, “It is absolutely wrong that I met Rahul Gandhi. I will meet when he comes next. And if I want to meet him, I don’t have to do so secretly. I am not meeting a terrorist, or meeting Nawaz Sharif at midnight like Narendra Modi did.” Earlier, at a public meeting in Mandal in North Gujarat, Patel said, “If BJP is a mahachor, the Congress is a chor. And if a chor’s help is needed to trounce a mahachor, we will do that also.”

HardikSpeak

“I did not meet Rahul Gandhi but whenever I will meet him, will go to meet him after declaring it to whole Hindustan. We will meet during his next Gujarat visit. Bharat Mata Ki Jai!”
“Those who say I am an agent of Congress are in fact the agent of BJP. I do not bother what BJP leaders say.”
“Keep your hands on your heart and say if I have committed any crime. How did the CCTV footage of a five-star hotel get leaked?”
“World’s largest ‘miss call’ party is being forced to pay Rs 1 crore for making members.”
(referring to some Patidar leaders alleging they were offered Rs 1 crore to join the BJP ahead of the state elections)
Meanwhile, Ashok Gehlot demanded to know through a tweet how could the police or the government ask for CCTV grabs of a hotel. “I met Hardik and Jignesh in Ummed Hotel. IB, Police are checking hotel rooms. What is happening in Gandhiji’s Gujarat?” “I condemn all this surveillance being done on BJP’s orders.” “Are HardikPatel and Jignesh Mevani criminals or absconders? If that is so, BJP must clear its stand. When they met BJP leaders, then their offices were not checked. Why it is being done now?,” he asked. “The rooms which have been booked in my name are being checked. We are openly saying, we have met them and will keep meeting them in future too,” he said. Interestingly, the CCTV grabs were almost simultaneously telecast by all Gujarati TV channels, each one claiming it to be an exclusive. (IANS) // ]]>

Cong nets OBC leader, opens door for Hardik

Aggressive young Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakore on Saturday announced he was joining the Congress, as state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki urged firebrand Patidar spearhead Hardik Patel and Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani to also join the party. The ruling BJP got a boost as two leaders from Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) shook hands with the party.

Thakore, who has emerged as a strong OBC leader along with Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani during the last two years, announced his move in New Delhi after an evening meeting with Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi. Soon after, Varun Patel and Reshma Patel, Patidar leaders closely associated with the PAAS movement, joined the BJP, profusely praising the ruling party which they suddenly found to have considered all their demands. “We were fighting for the community and not working as agents of any political party or to broker their ambitions,” Reshma Patel said. Asked if they were not acting as agents of the BJP, both claimed their fight right from the beginning was for the community and to support whoever backed the Patidars’ cause. Alpesh Thakore, meanwhile, said he and his supporters would formally join the Congress at a massive rally in state capital Gandhinagar on Monday. Rahul Gandhi would fly down specially for the rally. “It is time to throw out the BJP in Gujarat. Unemployment is a huge problem with lakhs of youngsters without jobs, more than 74,000 farmers are neck deep in debt, illicit liquor flows freely in the state despite prohibition and education and health sectors are in a total mess,” Thakore told reporters in Delhi. He added, “Me, Hardik Patel and Jignesh are all going to join hands with the Congress party to defeat the BJP.” Reacting to the Congress invite to join and offer party tickets, Hardik Patel, who has been publicly saying that he is out to defeat the “dictatorial and inhuman” BJP and had once appealed to Patidars at large to grant the Congress an opportunity, said, “I am not here to contest elections and my age does not permit it, but other PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) members are free to do so.” “There is no talk of joining the Congress. I have said earlier also that the Congress would have to first convince us how they would meet our demand for reservations to the Patidars, otherwise it is only an election-oriented promise,” Patel told IANS. “Our agitation will continue even if the Congress comes to power if our demands are not met,” he said, adding that he had maintained this several times. PAAS leader Dinesh Bhambhania told a Gujarat TV channel, “A couple of ambitious people joining BJP or leaving the Patidar movement won’t have any impact on us.” Jignesh Mewani, on the other hand, said, “I am determined to defeat the BJP not only in Gujarat in December 2017 but also in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019. Whether I will contest the polls for Congress or join the party will be jointly decided by Dalit organizations and leaders in the state.” Congress state president Bharatsinh Solanki, meanwhile, also invited members of Aam Aadmi Party, Janata Dal-U and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) to form a broad political alliance against the ruling BJP for the forthcoming Assembly polls. “Congress vijay yatra has begun. This yatra is moving towards over 125 seats. We want to invite the important factors in Gujarat these days – Hardik, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani – to come and join Congress in an endeavour to throw out BJP,” Solanki told reporters earlier in Ahmedabad. He said the Congress was open to Hardik Patel contesting elections in the future from its platform. “PAAS workers and leaders are also angry with BJP. We invite Hardik, PAAS workers, leaders and Patidar community to come and join Congress.” “We stand by our proposal of keeping 49 per cent reservations for OBC, SC/ST intact and passing a resolution in the Assembly once in power to provide for 20 per cent reservations to other communities. We will send the resolution to BJP-controlled Parliament and impress upon them to pass our resolution,” he said, adding that Congress would resort to agitation if Parliament does not approve its proposal. Solanki said his party would also approach the Supreme Court to ensure that its proposal for 20 per cent additional reservations is approved. (IANS)  
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