Ahmedabad: Former Congress veteran Shankersinh Vaghela, who is now leading a new political front ‘Jan Vikalp’, today demanded 25 per cent reservation in jobs and education for the non-reserved classes in Gujarat.
The former Gujarat Chief Minister claimed that despite the 49.5 per cent cap on reservations put by the Supreme Court, he state government can implement the additional 25 per cent quota by enacting a law.
“I believe that non-reserved classes should get 25 per cent reservation. It is a misconception that the state cannot go beyond 49.5 per cent quota. Tamil Nadu already has around 69 per cent quota. Gujarat government should also enact a law to give 25 per cent additional quota,” Vaghela told reporters here today.
His statement comes days after the BJP government here announced various schemes for the welfare of the non-reserved classes after holding meeting with the agitating Patidar community leaders, a move seen as BJP’s apparent bid to placate the decisive vote bank ahead of the assembly polls, due later this year.
Since the main demand of including Patels in the OBC category was not fulfilled by the government, quota spearhead Hardik has vowed to continue with the agitation. During his interaction with the media here today, Vaghela, who had joined ‘Jan Vikalp’ last month, claimed that there is a strong ‘anti BJP-anti Congress’ undercurrent in most parts of state.
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“After joining Jan Vikalp, I travelled around 6,000 kilometers in Gujarat to get a sense of what people are thinking. I realised that there is strong anti-BJP and anti-Congress undercurrent. People are unhappy with both the parties and seeing a ray of hope in me and Jan Vikalp,” he said. He announced to hold meetings with people from various parts of the state during the next two weeks to understand their problems.
“We will announce the final candidates for each of the 182 seats after October 15,” he added. While joining ‘Jan Vikalp’ last month, the 77-year-old leader had claimed he will not contest the assembly polls. However, Vaghela did not rule out the possibility of taking over as the CM, if this front gets majority in the polls.