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19 Nov 2017

Hardik gives Congress 24 hours to decide on reservation, seats

After initially expressing satisfaction with the options set forth by the Congress, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel has now retracted his stand.

He has set a new deadline of 24 hours for the Congress to declare the quota they can offer to Patidars. Further, he is pushing Congress to field 30 of his supporters in the upcoming Gujarat elections.

Here's more on the tussle.

In context

Hardik sets new 24-hour deadline for Congress
What had Congress and Patidars earlier agreed on?

Previous agreement

What had Congress and Patidars earlier agreed on?

Hardik had previously given the Congress leadership a deadline of November 7 to decide on the quota to be provided to Patidars in colleges and jobs.

Following this, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had given three options to Patidars.

Earlier this week, Congress had agreed to Hardik's reservation demands and also decided to field 7-8 candidates recommended by him.


Now, what are the issues to be ironed out?

After Congress-Patidars reached an agreement, their leaders were invited to Delhi to finalize the process for giving the quotas; however, they were made to wait for an entire day.

Thus, after returning to Gujarat, the 24-hour deadline was set for Congress to accept Patidar demands or risk losing their support.

Congress feels the 30 seats demanded by Hardik, is a costly-price for Patidar support.

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Meanwhile, desertion from Hardik's camp continues

Meanwhile, in the last three days, Hardik's two close aides have switched sides. Chetan Patel and Ketan Patel, who were involved in the movement since the beginning, have now joined the BJP.

Hardik had earlier suspended them for weakening the stir. The duo on their part accused Hardik of using the movement for personal gains and becoming a "crorepati" in one year.


What are the challenges that Congress faces?

Congress faces a tough task of deciding candidates.

Congress is yet to accommodate OBC leader Alpesh Thakore's candidates; thus, they might find it difficult to promise seats to Hardik, fearing dissention among their workers.

Further, allocating many seats to Alpesh and Hardik could be a risk as the duo has never contested any election. Thus, it is unclear how many votes they can pull.

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