A meeting held in Gandhinagar on Thursday between the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and a group of Gujarat ministers to resolve the vexed issue of reservation remained inconclusive. However, PAAS and the government have agreed to meet again to find out a solution to the sensitive issue.
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“We have had no results from the meeting,” said Varun Patel, one of the 11 representatives of PAAS, told mediapersons after the six-hour long meet. In its bid to reach out to the politically and numerically strong community ahead of next year’s Assembly polls, the government had last week extended an invitation for talks to PAAS.
“In today’s meeting, they just listened to our four demands in detail and then told us that they are not empowered to say yes or no on the spot. They will take forward our demand to chief minister (Vijay Rupani) and the party high-command in Delhi and then call us again to discuss with concrete proposal,” Patel said. However, government has maintained that taking a call on the demand raised by Patels is not a small issue which can be resolved in a single meeting.
“This is not a small issue which can be resolved in one meeting. We sat with the PAAS representatives for over six hours and discussed in details various issues raised by them,” Deputy-Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who led the group of three ministers for talks, told reporters.
“We also explained to them (PAAS representatives) that any decision on the issue of reservation can be taken only in context of Constitution and the Supreme Court judgement capping all reservations at 49 per cent. We have told them that such agitations for reservations are going on in Rajasthan, Harayana and other states and everywhere there is a problem,” the minister said. He said the ministerial group will take up the demands of Patidars with state cabinet as well as Central government.
“After listening to their demands, we have told them that as our committee is appointed for negotiations, we will take their demands to our Central leadership and our Gujarat cabinet. We will discuss all the issues and get back to them for the second meeting, for which they have agreed,” he said.
However, PAAS members said they will intensify their stir if they feel that government is delaying the decision only to buy time.
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