Shaken by ongoing intense Patidar agitation demanding OBC status, the Anandiben Patel government has put forward legal and constituional arguments through full page advertisements in Friday edition of most of the leading Gujarati newspapers.
Advertisements, said top officials are part of damage control plan, ahead of scheduled rally by the Patidars on August 25 at Ahmedabad, which is expected to turn out to be a massive one. Show of strength by the Patidars, ahead of the civic polls is seen as the biggest challange for the Patel government from a community known as loyal to the BJP for decades now.
Claiming that ‘at heart of this government is welfare of every Gujarati’ advertisment asserts that it is the duty of both the government and citizens to follow constitutional provisions.
In five bullet points, it argues that Supreme Court’s 1992 verdict limits reservation quota only upto 50 per cent in any state. And, that Gujarat with 27 per cent OBC quota, 15 for ST and 7 for SC has touched its limit.
Highlighting that the state has formed OBC commission in 1994 under article 340 of the constitution, at present Gujarat has 146 caste included under OBC quota. And, based on survey and recommandation by the commission the state government can include any community in the list.
Making an appeal for social harmony and brotherhood, it also cities example that how courts has turned down similar demand by Gujjars in Rajasthan, for Jats across India, Muslims in Andhra Pradesh and Marathas in Maharashtra.
The arguments put forward by the government, with seven Patidar ministers including CM, are on the similar stance as the BJP, with significant number of the Patidar leaders in top rung, had taken during its state level meeting last month and asked its leaders to take the message forward in the community.
However, the Patidars, who have been asking reservation within 27 per cent OBC quota, declared its first round of talks with the state high powered committee, consisting of six ministers, as failure on Monday and announced to go ahead with its Ahmedabad rally.