Gujarat polls: Congress invites Hardik, Alpesh, Mevani to join hands

Pauline Gross
October 22, 2017

Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader who spearheaded a prolonged agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for people of his community, was rather tepid in his response to the Congress' invitation.

An angry Ashish Patel of PAAS alleged the saffron party was poaching Hardik's aides with lucrative offers.

Our fight is against the BJP, he said, adding that "we also should unite to give a tough fight to the BJP".

Following this, Thakor, along with Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki earlier reached the residence of Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi. The proposed front could rattle the BJP as all these three leaders represent three different powerful communities - Patidar, OBC and Dalit. "We will send the resolution to BJP-controlled Parliament and impress upon them to pass our resolution", he said, adding that Congress would resort to agitation if Parliament does not approve its proposal.

Alpesh Thakore, meanwhile, said he and his supporters would formally join the Congress at a massive rally in state capital Gandhinagar on Monday. While the BJP always supported the community and accepted a majority of our demands, Congress is only trying to use Patels as a vote bank. State Assembly elections are due in Gujarat this December.

Calling Hardik a youth leader, Solanki said that the Congress was open to him contesting elections from its platform. In a latest development, Patidar leaders Reshma Patel and Varun Patel on Saturday met Amit Shah at BJP office in Ahmedabad. "We are fighting against the arrogant and we shall win".

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The moves are aimed at boosting the Congress's prospects in a state where the party is out of power for 22 years.

"The NCP had back-stabbed us in the Rajya Sabha polls.

Whether I will contest the polls for Congress or join the party will be jointly decided by Dalit organizations and leaders in the state". "The NCP had backstabbed us in the Rajya Sabha elections but I now hear that the NCP is ready to join hands with us".

Reacting to the Congress invite to join and offer party tickets, Hardik Patel, who has been publicly saying that he is out to defeat the "dictatorial and inhuman" BJP and had once appealed to Patidars at large to grant the Congress an opportunity, said, "I am not here to contest elections and my age does not permit it, but other PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) members are free to do so".

"Just like Kalsariya, many other AAP leaders are in touch with us". Kalsaria, a respected name in the state, however made it clear that instead of joining Congress, he would prefer to fight as an independent from Mahuva in Bhavnagar district under the banner of his organisation, the Sadbhavana Trust.

"Why you had not given support to us 2 years ago?" he asked.

Other reports by GizPress

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