Cong.-PAAS pact in jeopardy

first_imgJust before the Gujarat Congress announced its first list of candidates, the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had announced that it had reached an agreement with the Opposition party on the quota issue. But soon after the list was released, the agreement appeared to be unravelling as there were only two persons associated with PAAS in the list against an expected 8-9 names.Angry PAAS members went berserk, vandalised Congress offices in several places and slammed its leaders for not “honouring the commitments” made during their series of meetings to discuss the quota issue and finalise the seat-sharing formula.Damage controlPAAS convenor Hardik Patel, who was to officially announce the tie-up with the Congress in Rajkot, cancelled his rally. His close aides declared that if the Congress did not change the names, PAAS would oppose its candidates as it did the BJP’s.Sensing big trouble, the Congress launched a damage control exercise and promised to accommodate more PAAS members in its list. The party is now reportedly changing the candidates in as many as six seats.However, the party’s new list is yet to be made public. Tuesday is the last day for filing of nominations in 89 constituencies falling in Saurashtra & Kutch and South Gujarat, two regions going to the polls in the first phase on December 9.Hopes beliedAccording to insiders, the PAAS had demanded over a dozen seats in Patidar-dominated pockets in Saurashtra and Surat city.But the Congress fielded only two PAAS associates — Lalit Vasoya from Dhoraji and Amit Thummar from Junagadh. The two are among 18 Patidars fielded by the party.Sources said that changes are likely in Junagadh, Botad and a few other seats in Surat.The names of probable replacements were discussed at a meeting between Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Gujarat election-in-charge Ashok Gehlot in New Delhi.The party faced protests over the choice of candidates in several places, including Bharuch where Kiran Thakor was replaced by Jayesh Patel at the last moment.last_img

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