Hardik Patel Cancels Rally Amid Crisis Over Pact With Congress: 10 Points

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AHMEDABAD: Hardik Patel canceled a demonstration today and it was MIA while his group struggled with an apparent division in the ranks for an agreement with Congress for the Gujarat elections next month. He was expected to announce the pact at the rally in Rajkot. Last night, the clashes erupted hours after Congress declared, after weeks of tough negotiations, that it had reached an agreement on a formula to share the seat with PAAS of Hardik Patel or Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. The leader of the Patidar campaign, aged 24, was not in the meeting with Congress.

Here are the top 10 updates in this great story:

1. The agreement soon proved unconvincing after Congress published a list of candidates for the Gujarat polls with three leaders of Hardik Patel’s group.

2. Late on Sunday, angry PAAS members vandalized the congressional offices and clashed with the workers, accusing the party of including their leaders on the list without their     consent.

3. “Congress announced the names without our permission, we will launch a statewide upheaval against Congress,” said Dinesh Bhambhani, a member of the central PAAS committee, who said that even Hardik Patel had been surprised by the congressional announcement.

4. A large number of policemen were brought in to protect the Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad and other places in the state after the clashes.

5.The cracks were exposed in the tight-knit group after one of those three candidates, Lalit  Vasoya, presented his nomination documents as a candidate for Congress even though Dinesh Bhambania announced that none of the leaders would do so.

6. Mr. Vasoya stated that he was “only following the directive of his boss Hardik Patel” after the truce with Congress. Hardik Patel’s only answer so far is a cryptic tweet from a couplet that urges on his opening line: “Do not be so impregnated with power …”

7. The first Congress list of 77 candidates for the Gujarat polls presents 19 members of the Patel community, in addition to Hardik Patel’s aides Mr. Vasoya and Nilesh Patel.

8. Before the vote in Gujarat, Congress has courted the Patidars, a powerful community that in recent years has complained that they have been deprived of work and educational opportunities and has demanded reservations.

9. Hardik Patel made it clear that the lack of BJP support for his demands will cost the party that has been in power in the state for 23 years.

10. He had made his conditional congressional support, demanding that Patidars bring under the 27 percent quota for Other Overdue Classes. Throughout the weeks, the young leader has released many ultimatums, but has always fallen short of acting on them.