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Hardik Patel Keeps the Door Open to Congress, Places List of Demands

Hardik has also sought tickets for Patidar candidates in areas dominated by the Patel community, PTI quoted sources in Congress as saying. The 24-year-old leader, who led the quota stir in Gujarat, met senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot in Ahmedabad on Monday.

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Updated:October 24, 2017, 7:48 PM IST
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Hardik Patel Keeps the Door Open to Congress, Places List of Demands
In this file photo, Patidar leader Hardik Patel during a road show in Gujarat. (Twitter photo)
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Ahmedabad: Patidar leader Hardik Patel is said to have communicated a set of demands, including an assurance of reservation for the Patel community in government jobs and educational institutions, to the Congress party as a condition for his support of the Grand Old Party.

Hardik has also sought tickets for Patidar candidates in areas dominated by the Patel community, PTI quoted sources in Congress as saying. The 24-year-old leader, who led the quota stir in Gujarat, met senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot in Ahmedabad on Monday.

In his meeting with Gujarat Congress in-charge, Hardik demanded better representation for politically influential Patels, who had until now backed the BJP, sources said,

"Had a good meeting with Hardik Patel and his colleagues," Gehlot tweeted Monday night. Patel, who is not eligible to contest elections, also told mediapersons that he had gone to a hotel to meet Gehlot. A number TV channels showed CCTV footage of Hardik entering and exiting a 5-star hotel where Rahul had also briefly checked in.

Thereafter, Ghelot wrote on Twitter that the rooms booked in his name were being checked. "We are openly saying, we have met them n will keep meeting them in future too," he said.

Gehlot, in another tweet, questioned why IB and police took CCTV footage from the hotel.

Hardik, then, alleged in a tweet: "BJP is expert in snooping. They used to snoop on Sanjay Joshi (BJP leader) and now they are snooping on me." Congress' endeavor to get the Patidar leader onboard is seen as an attempt to bolster their prospects in a community, which has had, in Hardik's words, "minimal" representation.

Alpesh Thakor, a prominent OBC leader and 'Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena convenor', had joined the Congress on Monday in the presence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

The BJP has been calling Patel an "agent" of the Congress who was trying to "mislead" people of his community.

Congress spokesman Manish Doshi said Hardik Patel was told that, if voted to power, a survey would be conducted to provide reservation to the community without touching the 49 per cent quotas for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.

He said Patel was also assured that action would be taken against police officials who committed "atrocities" against Patidars during their quota stir in August 2015. Doshi said an assurance was also made to him that the kin of those who were killed during the agitation will be adequately compensated.

Ten people had been killed in police action when the quota stir turned violent.
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