Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday declared his support to the Congress for the Gujarat Assembly elections, saying that the opposition party has accepted the demand of giving reservation to his community in a “special category”.
The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader said that reservation formula given by the Congress for his community will be over and above the 50 per cent quota for the SC, ST and OBCs.
On the 50 per cent reservation cap set by the Supreme Court, he said that it is just a “suggestion”.
Hardik said if the Congress comes to power, it will conduct a proper survey for providing reservation. The party will bring a Bill in the state Assembly and give reservation, he said.
“My fight in Gujarat is against the BJP and that is why we will directly or indirectly support Congress (in the elections) as it has accepted our demand for reservation,” he added.
“Congress has promised to include our demand in its manifesto,” he said.
“The percentage of reservation under a special category to be given to us will be decided after the survey conducted by the commission to be formed by the government.”
“As per the formula, without touching the 49 per cent quota (now provided in the state) to the Schedule Tribes (ST), Schedule Castes (SC) and Other Backward Class (OBC), the Congress has decided to provide quota to the communities, who have not got the benefit of reservation so far under Article 31 (C) and Article 46 of the Constitution,” he said.
Article 46 of the Constitution says the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
Article 31 (C) has two parts. The first part protects a law giving effect to the policy of the state towards securing the principles specified in Articles 39 (b) and (c) from being challenged on the ground of infringement of the Fundamental Rights under Article 14, 19 and 31.
The second part of Article 31 (C) originally sought to oust the jurisdiction of the courts to find out whether the law in question gave effect to the principles of Articles 39 (b) and 39 (c).
When pointed out that the Supreme Court had “restrained” the Rajasthan government from taking any action on conferring the benefit of reservation resulting in crossing
the total reservation beyond 50 per cent, Hardik said, “This (50 per cent cap) is just a suggestion of the Supreme Court.”
“In our Constitution, there is no mention of 50 per cent cap on reservation. I am of the firm opinion that reservation can be given over 50 per cent,” he said.
Hardik also said that there were no differences with the Congress over seat-sharing. “We had not demanded any seats, but we had asked the Congress to put up candidates of our community, who have a strong character,” he said.
Asked what will he do about the PAAS members who have filed nomination papers to contest elections, Hardik said that they will no longer be members of the organisation.
Hardik also accused the BJP of trying to buy PAAS members by offering Rs 50 lakh.
The Congress, which has mounted a hectic campaign to dislodge the long-ruling BJP in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saffron party chief Amit Shah, has been wooing the Patel stir spearhead for quite some time.
Elections in Gujarat will be held on December 9 and 14.