Hardik Patel’s Group In Turmoil After Reported Pact With Congress

AHMEDABAD: Hardik Patel’s group seems to have been plunged into turmoil hours after its reported deal with the Congress for the Gujarat elections next month. The fragility of the truce was laid bare when members of Hardik Patel’s PAAS or Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti attacked Congress offices in Surat, alleging that two of their leaders had been included in the list without their consent, sending signals to their base that a deal had been struck when none had.

This morning, the crisis worsened for the group after one of those two candidates, Lalit Vasoya, filed his nomination papers as a Congress candidate despite being told by his leader Dinesh Bhambania not to do so.

Hardik Patel has not commented since yesterday and his rally in Rajkot today stands cancelled.

Yesterday, after an hour-long meeting, the Congress announced a list of 77 candidates for the Gujarat polls featuring 19 members of the community that is campaigning for quotas in government jobs and colleges, including two aides of Hardik Patel.

When angry Patidar activists targeted Congress offices later, a large number of policemen were brought in to protect the Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad and other places in the state.

“Congress announced the names without our permission. We will launch a state-wide agitation against the Congress,” said Dinesh Bhambhani, who is a member of the core committee of the PAAS.

Apart from Lalit Vasoya, the Congress list features Nilesh Patel. The Congress had declared that the two sides have come to a consensus on the reservation formula and a formal announcement of the PAAS backing the Congress will be made by Mr Patel in Rajkot on Monday. The 24-year-old Patidar leader did not attend the meeting.

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