Patidar leadership is with Congress in Gujarat election, expect announcement tomorrow, says PAAS

Ahmedabad: Putting all speculations to rest, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samtiti (PAAS) on Tuesday said that the Patidar leadership and the Congress have sorted out all the differences. Speaking with Firstpost, senior PAAS leader Dinesh Bambhaniya said that the leaders and supporters of the Patidar reservation will support the grand old party in the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.

“Everything has been sorted out. There are no disputes between the two now. We are supporting the Congress,” Bambhaniya, who is also a close aide of Hardik Patel, said. He further said that a formal announcement from PAAS will come by tomorrow (Wednesday).

Ironically, after the Congress released its first list of candidates in Gujarat on Sunday, Dinesh Bambhaniya led a protest to the residence of the state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki at around midnight. Police was called in to control the agitation by Bambhaniya and other Patidar leaders.

After the brawl at Solanki’s residence, there were rumours that Bambhaniya and his supporters will ditch Hardik and join the BJP. However, Dinesh, in a telephonic conversation with Firstpost, ruled out the possibility and confirmed support for the Congress.

"The BJP is spreading such lies. There are no chances of me joining the saffron party. We have agitated against them, we are against their policies. I am not joining BJP,” Bambhaniya said.

Bambhaniya is a key PAAS leader and is a co-accused in the sedition case filed against Hardik Patel. Almost a shadow of Hardik, he enjoys the authority to take independent decisions and negotiate with the Congress and the state government on the issues of reservation for Patidars.

On being asked what were the differences with the Congress, Bambhaniya said that the leadership had placed certain demands before the Congress and there were issues in selection of individuals who were going to contest elections at couple of places. "During the course of the day (on Monday), we had a series of discussion over our demands. Congress has respected our feelings and now everything is in place,” he added. It should be noted that Congress has replaced four candidates in the fray from the controversial list that was issued on Sunday evening.

The move, reportedly, was to accommodate PAAS demands. The Congress replaced Varachha road (Surat) candidate Praful Togadia with Dhirubhai Gajera, Bhikhabhai Joshi in place of Amit Thummar in Junagadh, Jaish Patel in place of Kiran Thakor in Bharuch and Ashok Jirawala in place of Nilesh Kumbani in Kamrej.

Bambhaniya further alleged that the BJP is misusing social media and spreading lies about Patidar leaders on various fronts. “There were messages making rounds that Hardik is likely to address press meet from BJP’s media centre. This is a lie. We have not called any press conference and in fact Hardik is not in Ahmedabad. He is travelling from Rajkot to Dhandhuka,” he told Firstpost.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Nov 21, 2017 14:36:08 IST