Hardik Patel issues warning to Congress over Patel quota, sets a deadline

Assembly elections in Gujarat will held in two phases on December 9 and 14.

Hardik Patel issues warning to Congress over Patel quota, sets a deadline

Ahmedabad: Patidar stir leader Hardik Patel has issued an ultimatum to the Congress to clarify its position on quotas for Patels by November 3.

"Congress must clarify how it proposes to give reservations constitutionally by November 3, 2017. If it does not make its stand clear, an episode similar to Amit Shah could repeat in Surat," he tweeted. 

Hardik has maintained that if the Congress clarifies its stand on quotas for the Patels, he will not have issues in supporting the party in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly elections.

Several Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) members had on September 8 last year created ruckus at Shah`s rally, forcing him to cut short his speech.

Also, earlier this month on October 1, when Shah was kicking off the Gujarat Gaurav Yatra from Karamsad, several Patel youth had tried to disrupt the event by raising slogans of `Jai Sardar, Jai Patidaar`.

The ultimatum by Hardik Patel comes as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is set to visit the state again, this time South Gujarat for a three-day visit early next month.

Meanwhile, 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. 

Congress downplays Hardik Patel's ultimatum:

On the other hand, the Congress sought to downplay the ultimatum given by Hardik and said that 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 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 had said at the party briefing. 

He had, 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 had added. 

Gujarat Assembly elections:

Assembly elections in Gujarat will held in two phases on December 9 and 14.

The first phase will be held in 89 of the 182 seats and will cover 19 of 33 districts. The notification for the second phase will be issued on November 20 for the remaining 93 Assembly seats in 14 districts.

The votes will be counted on December 18, the same day as Himachal Pradesh, where elections will be held on November 9.

The BJP has been in power in Gujarat since 1998 and the Congress is seeking to make a comeback. 

While the Congress is eyeing the support of SC and backward leaders to return to power, the BJP is banking on the development plank and the popularity of Modi to once again retain the state. 

(With IANS inputs)