- Congress claimed deal with Hardik Patel group on reservation
- Announces election candidates list featuring Patidar leaders
- Group launches protest against party denying consensus
Then came the storm. Members of the group called PAAS or Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti attacked Congress offices in Surat, alleging that the two leaders of the movement had been included in the list without their consent, sending signals to their base that a deal had been struck when none had. A large number of policemen were brought in to prevent a similar scene at the Congress headquarters in Ahmedabad and other places in the state.
"Congress announced the names without our permission. We will launch a state-wide agitation against the Congress," Dinesh Bhambhani, a member of the core committee of the PAAS, said.
The announcement appeared to cap special efforts by the Congress to win the support of the crucial Patidar community - staunch BJP supporters for decades - ahead of state elections in state ruled by the BJP for 22 years.
Hardik Patel had made it clear that the BJP's lack of support to their demands will cost it during the elections. But he also made his support to the Congress conditional - demanding that Patidars brought under the 27 per cent quota for Other Backward Classes. Over the weeks, the young leader has delivered many ultimatums which he later cancelled.