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...For political expedience, the Congress has supported Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation. It has now promised to meet his demands by creating a “special category” of those communities which were not getting the benefit of reservations. Granting the genuineness of grievances of the Patidar youth, the proposed solution is illusory at best and retrogressive at worst. It will strengthen the dominance and hegemony of the upper castes. Caste sentiments have been invoked in Gujarat since the early 1960s in all elections. During the 1950s, it was almost taboo in the Gujarat public sphere to talk about caste in politics. Besides idealism, it was primarily because the upper castes controlled the Congress as well as other parties. The pressure from lower caste elites for their share in power was then insignificant. ...Indian Express on Dec. 9, 2017, 12:05 a.m.