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Facepalm! Hardik Patel declares support for Congress but his aides join BJP

23 October 2017

Experts, however, believe that the new entrants in the BJP would not loosen the grasp of Congress on Gujarat.

Thakor who heads the OBC, ST, SC Ekta Manch made the decision after a meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. Thakor's decision came within hours of Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki's invitation to the three "Young Turks" of state politics, Alpesh Thakor, Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and Patidar leader Hardik Patel to join the party. The sources said the BJP would rely on a similar plank in Karnataka where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who himself hails from a backward caste (Kuruba), of the Congress is relying on a coalition of OBCs, Dalits and minorities to win a second term. With the Election Commission taking its own time to announce Gujarat poll dates, the Prime Minister plans to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for a number of projects in Bhavnagar and Vadodara districts.

The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti has been protesting against the ruling BJP-led government with demands of reservation for Patidar community. "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. "I am very happy that Mr Thakor had a meeting with our vice president and agreed to join the Congress party".

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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 now hear that they are ready to join hands with the Congress.

"I do not intend to contest elections". Mr Vasava had supported Congress in the Rajya Sabha elections held in August. 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. "We want our right (OBC status) and we will continue to fight for the same", said Patel.

The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA. The Patidar community leader said that it was time for a BJP-mukt Gujarat.

Facepalm! Hardik Patel declares support for Congress but his aides join BJP