Ahmedabad: The formula of reservation offered by the Congress to the Patidars is a “big joke" played by the opposition party, Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said on Wednesday, and accused quota stir leader Hardik Patel of misguiding the community.
Patel said any quota in government jobs and educational institutions exceeding the 50% cap put by the Supreme Court is something “offered by fools and also accepted by fools." He was talking to journalists after Hardik Patel declared his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti’s (PAAS) support for the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections, saying the opposition party has accepted his outfit’s demand for reservation to the community in a “special category".
“Though it is very much clear that reservation cannot go beyond 50 per cent in any situation, Hardik is trying to misguide the Patidar community with the formula offered by the Congress. In my opinion, this formula of reservation is a big joke," Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad.
He said there is no merit in the offer made by the Congress and accepted by Hardik Patel. “Congress leaders like Kapil Sibal have made a fool of Hardik by offering such a formula. It is evident that fools have made a proposal and fools have accepted it. People of Gujarat and the Patidar community are watching this and will never fall prey to such tactics," he said.
Earlier in the day, Hardik said the formula mooted by the Congress for the community envisaged reservation for the Patels that would be over and above the quotas for the schedule castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes (OBCs).
He said the cap put by the Supreme Court was just a “suggestion", and there were ways to go beyond the limit set by it. The BJP veteran leader warned Hardik that a day will come when people of the Patidar community would teach him a lesson for “playing with their sentiments". “I have never seen a fool like Hardik. Many leaders like him have emerged in the past and vanished without a trace. Hardik will meet the same fate for playing with the sentiments of the Patidar community," Nitin Patel said.
Calling Hardik “immature", an agitated deputy chief minister said, "We are not doing anything because we are in government. Otherwise, I have seen thousands like you in my career and taught them a lesson too. Don’t be under any impression that you are running Gujarat."
Citing various Supreme Court judgements, the BJP leader said it was not possible to exceed the cap set by the apex court. “Hardik today claimed that he has received the proposal about reservation from Congress. On the other side, Kapil Sibal just said that Congress received a proposal from PAAS. Such contradictory statements show that one of them is lying," he added.