Patidar Anamat Andolan Samithi leader who is now a force to reckon with and who created a history by collecting lakhs of people on his short notice call in Ahmedabad announced on November 22 his support to the Congress in the assembly elections. Since his massive meeting in Ahmedabad, he has been fighting for reservation to Patidar community. While the ruling BJP did not heed his demand, the Congress was from the very beginning sympathetic with him. After hectic parleys, Congress agreed to reservation demand if it comes to power. As per the formula, without touching 49 per cent quota which is now being provided to STs, SCs and other backward classes, the Congress government would provide reservations under the provisions of the constitution. This support will be a shot in the arm for the Congress which is flying high in the campaign with Rahul Gandhi attracting huge crowds in his rallies.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hit out at the alliance saying both Patidars and the Congress were deceiving each other because reservations could not be given beyond 50 per cent cap mandated by the Supreme Court. The immediate reaction by the Finance Minister shows that the alliance has increased worries for the BJP for which it is a crucial poll connected to its survival in 2019 elections. For the Congress also it is a turning point because Rahul Gandhi is bound to campaign for the party as its President in the second phase.
The trading community may tilt the balance as its influence on other groups is a telling feature. It is to be seen how the poor, the unemployed youth and the minorities would react to the performance of the ruling BJP which was at the helm for more than two decades. It is the election for the survival of the BJP and revival of the Congress.