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Congress Releases Manifesto For Gujarat Polls, Lists Patidar Reservation Formula

On expected lines, the Congress listed out the reservation formula it has worked out after several rounds of discussions with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the body that has been agitating for reservation.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:December 4, 2017, 8:31 PM IST
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Congress Releases Manifesto For Gujarat Polls, Lists Patidar Reservation Formula
A Congress worker waves a party flag. Representative image.
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Ahmedabad: The Congress on Monday announced the party’s manifesto ahead of the Assembly elections in Gujarat.

On expected lines, the Congress listed out the reservation formula it has worked out after several rounds of discussions with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the body that has been agitating for reservation.

The manifesto said, “Without affecting/reducing/making any change in the present 49% reservation of the backward communities, Congress party will introduce a bill in the assembly at the earliest under article 46 of the Constitution and keeping in view the provisions of article 31 (c) for the fulfilment of the above.”

“Under the bill, the communities which are specified under article 46 and which have not received any benefit under article 15 (4) and 16 (4), to give them equal opportunity for education and economic development, will be conferred all rights given to OBC under this special category,” it added.

The manifesto went on to state that the state government will hold consultations with all stakeholders and will appoint a commission to identify which categories will be included in this special category that will be formed. Besides, the party has announced that it will form an EBC Commission to help meet the objective of providing equal opportunity for educational and economic development of deprived people in the upper castes.

While the Congress claims this formula will be able to stand the constitutional test if it is challenged in a court of law (and it will be promptly challenged), the BJP says this formula amounts to increasing reservation limit beyond 50 percent and is bound to be struck down by courts.

Calling it the “People’s Manifesto”, GPCC President Bharatsinh Solanki said that an effort has been made to increase the “happiness index” of the people of Gujarat. “The Congress will adopt the bottom-up approach and ensure that all sections of society get equal opportunities in the state,” he said.

Some of the other major promises made by the Congress in its manifesto are:

* Loan waiver for farmers and 16 hours of electricity during daytime to farmers.

* 100 percent finance for small self-employed entrepreneurs from all communities.

* 100 percent free education for all girls. A house for every woman.

* Congress will convert all self-financed courses in government/aided institutions into grant in aid courses, thereby reducing fee burden by 80%.

* Petrol, diesel prices to be brought down by 10 rupees per litre by slashing state government taxes.

* Up to 50 % reduction in electricity tariffs.

* Exemption in GST for small traders and small manufacturers.

* Establishing fast track courts for all serious crimes.

* Construction of 25 lakh housing units over the next five years.
| Edited by: Ashish Yechury
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