Gujarat: Ahmed Patel terms CM Rupani's allegations as baseless

Patidar Hardik Patel Gujarat Gujarat assembly elections 2017 Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti 2015 Patidar quota agitation Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel Gujarat Assembly elections 2017 Gujarat elections indian express news

Taking a dig at Hardik's "November 3 ultimatum" to the Congress to make the party's stand clear on the issue of reservation for the community, Rupani said, "Congress had never promised reservation to Patidars under the OBC quota, but Patel had still asked the community to support the party in the upcoming state assembly polls".

Union minister and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi demanded an explanation from party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi on the issue. "It is Hardik, not Congress, who needs to clear his stand", said Rupani.

The Congress, on its part, stated that it upholds the current 49 per cent quota for SC, ST and OBCs and will legislate on 20 per cent quota for hitherto unreserved communities.

Earlier on Friday, Rupani had sought Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary's resignation from Rajya Sabha because of an alleged association with Sardar Patel Hospital in Ankleshwar where Mohammed Qasim Stimberwala, one of two alleged Islamic State operatives, worked as lab technician.

"Contrary to what Hardik is demanding, the Congress is promising reservation under the EBC category".

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that a suspected ISIS operative arrested recently used to work at the hospital where Patel had been a trustee earlier.

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The ATS claimed that they had carried out a recce of the place. One of the hospital trustees, Jayesh Patel clarified that Kasim had joined the hospital six months ago but had resigned on October 4 and was relived on October 24.

According to Rupani, the charges leveled by the ATS against the two arrested IS suspects -lawyer Ubaid Mirza (29) and Kasim Steamerwala (31) - the duo had planned to attack a Hindu Godman, Hindu shrines and a synagogue.

The hospital's website has a list of eight trustees but Patel's name does not figure in the list.

In a series of tweets, Ahmed Patel too denied the allegations made by Vijay Rupani, terming them "completely baseless".

"I am amazed by this kind of outrageous demands", Mr Chidambaram told reporters here.

"We request that matters of national security should not be politicised keeping elections in mind", he said and also urged: "Let's not divide peace loving Gujaratis while fighting terrorism".

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