New Delhi: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday thanked Patidar leader Hardik Patel for declaring his support to the party in the Gujarat Assembly polls after it accepted the community’s quota demand, and said their united fight would dethrone the BJP.
Sibal, however, held his cards close to his chest when asked about details of the formula the Congress and the Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have worked out on the quota demand, and added that the related issues would be decided later.
The former Union minister said winning the Gujarat Assembly election was the priority so that the promises made to the people of the state could be fulfilled.
Sibal, who had held meetings with the PAAS leadership on the quota issue earlier, also accused the ruling BJP of betraying the community’s trust by not doing anything for it during its 22-year rule in the state. “We are very happy that a ‘sanjha morcha’ (united front) will now fight against the BJP. We thank him that they (PAAS) have joined us with an ideology to contest the election by coming together. Our target is to win the election and fulfil promises made to the people," Sibal told reporters here.
Asked about details of the formula agreed upon by the two sides, Sibal said Patel himself would talk about it. “These issues will be decided later. First we have to fight together, win the election, then fulfil the promises made," he said. Sibal added the Congress has given the PAAS a suggestion “keeping in mind the issues they raised before us".
To a question, he also made light of Gujarat deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s reported comment that the Congress’s suggestion would not hold ground constitutionally and that it would be used only to garner votes. Sibal accused the saffron party of hatching conspiracies, imposing sedition case on Patel for leading the quota campaign and misleading the community during its rule.
“I want to ask the BJP if they know anything they have got nothing to do with the Constitution which they have never followed. Gujarat is a symbol of it. So, the less they talk about the Constitution, better it is," he added. Patel on Wednesday declared his support to the Congress in the Gujarat elections, to be held in two phases on 9 December and 14 December, and said the opposition party had accepted its demand for reservation for the community.
The PAAS leader said the Congress would include the extension of reservation benefit to Patidars in its election manifesto. The Congress, which has mounted a hectic campaign to dislodge the long-ruling BJP in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and saffron party chief Amit Shah, has been wooing the Patel stir spearhead for quite some time.