Guj Polls: Hardik Patel's key aides join BJP

Guj Polls: Hardik Patel's key aides join BJP”

The Gujarat Congress reached out on Saturday to Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mewani, activist leaders who could bring crucial support ahead of the state elections due in a few months.

"Day after tomorrow, October 23, Rahul Gandhi will attend our rally in Ahmedabad, and on the 23rd I will join the Congress".

The Congress, that has been out of power in the state for the last 22 years, is sensing an opportunity to return to power in the absence of Narendra Modi from state politics and a series of agitations by Patel, OBC and Dalit communities.

He also said that they do not want to become Congress agents. The party has announced to contest from a "maximum number" of seats this time around. "And in Gujarat, a government of the poor, backward and unemployed will be formed", Thakor said after meeting with Congress vice-president.

Solanki said, "PAAS workers and leaders are also angry with the BJP".

The last Congress government in Gujarat was led by Chhabildas Mehta from February 17, 1994 to March 13, 1995. "I am very happy that Mr Thakor had a meeting with our vice president and agreed to join the Congress party".

Congress, however, has not stopped at that since it has also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA. Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls. "I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls".

Calling Hardik a youth leader, Solanki said that the Congress was open to him contesting elections from its platform.

The meeting at Rahul's residence was also attended by Ashok Gehlot who is now in-charge of the Congress party's election preparedness in Gujarat and state Congress unit chief Bharat Singh Solanki. I can not contest elections myself because of constitutional provisions, nor do I want. Speaking for the community, Reshma had claimed in her email to Rahul that without clarity on the OBC quota issue, the community would not support the Congress. BJP, indeed, would have a tough time combating the three different powerful communities- Patidar, OBC and Dalit- backing the Congress.

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