Not openly extending support to Congress in Gujarat elections: Hardik Patel

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Mr. Jaitley was referring to Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel's comments that the Congress had agreed to give reservation over and above 50 per cent to the Scheduled Castes, the Sscheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.

A clash also broke out between Patel and police personnel outside the residence of Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki.

Hardik said that as per the Congress' formula, the communities mentioned in Article 46, who have not received any benefits under Article 15 (4) and Article 16 (4), would be provided all the benefits now provided to the OBC community. "In our Constitution, there is no mention of 50 per cent cap on reservation".

The Patidar leader also accused BJP of horses trading attempts in Gujarat and said it used the tactics fearing defeat in Gujarat. "Our organization will continue to fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat", he added.

The Patel leader said there were no differences with the Congress over seat-sharing. "So directly or indirectly, there will be support for the Congress", Hardik said at a press conference in Ahmedabad.

Hardik Patel claimed that reservation above 50 percent can be given in Gujarat since at least 9 states have already given reservation to deserving categories above 50 percent.

The Supreme Court ruled in a landmark case in 1992 (Indra Sawhney etc vs Union Of India And Others) that the total reservation including SC, ST and OBC quotas has to stay within the 50 percent limit to balance reservation against the principle of equality for every citizen as enshrined in Article 14 and clause 1 of Article 16.

"Though it is very much clear that reservation quota can not go beyond 50 per cent in any situation, Hardik is trying to misguide the Patidar community with the formula offered by the Congress".

"The Congress will have to put their reservation formula, with details, in their manifesto", the Patidar stir leader said. "In my opinion, this formula of reservation is a big joke", Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad.

"First we have to fight elections and win".