Congress invites Hardik Patel to contest Gujarat elections

Violet Powell
October 22, 2017

Patel, whose quota stir often turned violent resulting in the death of several people in police action, is aged 24 years. He said, "Constitutionally speaking, I can't contest the election and I don't need to, in the first place".

Ahmedabad/New Delhi, Oct 21 The Congress received a boost today ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, with backward class leader Alpesh Thakor announcing his decision to join the party, after a meeting with Rahul Gandhi.

The Congress which last won elections in Gujarat in 1985 under the leadership of Bharatsinh's father, former chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki who bagged 149 of the total 182 seats sees an opportunity in the anti-incumbency and the void created by prime minister Narendra Modi's move to Delhi after an extended as chief minister of the state. "We have chose to join BJP because we do not want to run the agitation by becoming Congress agents", said Varun Patel.

The 14th legislative assembly election in Gujarat is to be held by the end of 2017 as the term of 13th assembly ends on January 22, 2018.

"The BJP government had had given us reservation but the High Court quashed it. We want to invite the important factors in Gujarat these days - Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh - to come and join us in our endeavour to throw out the BJP", said Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Congress chief.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be in Gujarat on October 23 where Mr Thakor is expected to join the party.

Though the NCP had "betrayed" Congress in the RS polls, the party's doors are still open for them if they also want to overthrow the BJP from Gujarat, he added. He had said that he is not working for the victory of the Congress party but for the legitimate rights of his community.

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Varun and Reshma 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.

"Similarly, we also invite Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the Congress".

"I am very happy that Mr Thakor had a meeting with our Vice President and agreed to join the Congress party".

Vasava had said after the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in August this year that he had chose to vote for the Congress candidate as he was "unhappy" with the ruling party's works for the poor and tribal population that he represents.

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

Apart from these leaders, Solanki also hinted at forging a pre-poll alliance with Sharad Pawar-led NCP and bringing on board Chhotu Vasava, the lone JD (U) MLA in the state.

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