Ahead of Gujarat Assembly polls, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor to join Congress
23 October, 2017, 04:35 | Author: Manuel Hopkins
For the past couple of years the three leaders from Patidar, OBC and Dalit communities have influenced the state politics, drawing huge crowds.
Mr. Thakor launched a counter agitation under the OBC, ST, SC Ekta Manch to safeguards the interests of those communities which are entitled to quotas in education and government jobs. After meeting Gandhi, Thakore said, "Rahul Gandhi would be coming to our rally on October 23 and I will join the Congress party".
Patidar leader Hardik Patel today said that his party will support Congress if it supports their causes.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel, who recently won a hard-fought battle for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat, party general secretary in-charge of the state Ashok Gehlot, Congress state unit chief Bharatsinh Solanki were among leaders who attended the crucial meeting.
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Varun Patel and Reshma Patel were among the prominent faces of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and remained critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation. He is now acting like a Congress agent.
Solanki even promised to give an additional 20 per cent reservation to economically backward classes in the state if the Congress is voted to power in the upcoming assembly polls. "However, the Congress would have to first convince how they would meet our demand for reservations to the Patidars, otherwise it is only an election-oriented promise", Patel told IANS.
Jignesh Mewani, on the other hand, said, "I am determined to defeat the BJP not only in Gujarat in December 2017 but also in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019".
The dramatic turn of events came hours after Hardik Patel declared his support for the Congress. The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA close to Sharad Yadav. Responding to the offer, Hardik said: "Although I believe we must unite against the BJP, this is not a BJP-Congress election".
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