With an eye on the Patidar votes in Gujarat, the Congress is set to make its stand clear on the the community’s demand for quota. It has reportedly come up with “legally and constitutionally sustainable” solution to the issue of giving reservation to an upper caste like the Patidars. Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal is believed to have submitted a draft to the Congress president.
Party leaders in Delhi and Gujarat are tight-lipped about the solution, but insiders say their offer will stand the test of law if challenged in court.
On Sunday, two Gujarat Congress leaders Sidhdharth Patel and Babulal Mangukia held a meeting with Mr. Sibal to fine-tune the draft before handing it over to the Congress president, who is likely to declare the party’s stand.
Quota agitation leader Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had earlier held a meeting with State Congress leaders, where they reached an agreement on four of the five demands of the Patidars.
The Congress has agreed to withdraw all the cases against the Patidar protesters, including those of sedition; appoint a Special Investigation team (SIT) to probe the police excesses during the agitation; and set up a Savarna Vikas Aayog (upper caste development authority) with a budget of ?2,000 crore for the benefit of communities that do not enjoy reservations. The party has also agreed to provide compensation of ?35 lakh to each family that lost a member in police firing during the agitation.