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Gujarat assembly polls: What to expect from Rahul Gandhi’s 4th visit

By Vicky
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    Rahul Gandhi would make an all important fourth visit to Gujarat today. He would campaign in North Gujarat Gandhinagar, Banaskantha and Sabarkantha considered to be strong holds of the BJP.

    Rahul Gandhi

    The fourth visit is also aimed at strengthening the grip of the Congress among the Patidars. All eyes would be on his visit to these areas as they were the epicenter of the Patidar agitation.

    On the other hand, senior Congress leader, Kapil Sibal who is the special negotiator with the Patidars has already held a meeting with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). During that meeting, Sibal had given PAAS three options.

    The options were conveyed to the PAAS members by senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal at the meeting which took place at 11:30 pm on Thursday and ended at about 2 am.

    "We have been given three options by the Congress party on how to provide reservation to our community in educational institutions and government jobs," PAAS convener Dinesh Bambhania said after the meeting.

    "The options that have been given will be kept confidential till we discuss it with Hardik, social leaders of the community, legal experts and then it would be kept before our community. If the community accepts the demand, we will convey it accordingly to the Congress party," Bambhania said.

    He said, "The Congress proposal has not touched 49 per cent reservations for SC, ST and OBC which exists in the state. The options that have been given are over and above it."

    The PAAS convener said the meeting took place in a "very cordial atmosphere".

    "We have rejected the Congress' reservation offer under the Economically Backward Class as it is not constitutionally valid," Bambhania said.

    Sibal, after the meeting, told a press conference that "today's meeting between Congress leaders and PAAS has brought hope that something can be worked out."

    "We have discussed all the aspects and will do all the things (to provide reservation to the Patidar community) as per the constitution," the Congress leader said.

    He said they would again meet in the next two-three days.

    "We expect that the matter will become clear in two to three days," he added.

    The PAAS members met Sibal to discuss modalities of providing reservation to Patidars if voted to power in the upcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat.

    The meeting was scheduled at 9 pm but Sibal reached the venue late. Hardik, the Patidar quota agitation spearhead, who had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the Assembly election, due next month, only if the party committed itself to allotting reservation in education and government jobs to his community, was not present in the meeting.

    He had set November 7 as the deadline for the Congress to make its stand clear on the issue.

    The polling for the two-phase elections in the state will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18.

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