BJP's OBC commission pitch to counter Congress in Gujarat, Karnataka

Patidar community leader Hardik Patel. Courtesy ANI news

"This agitation was not Hardik Patel's alone".

The announcement came hours after the Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades now, invited Patidar quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, a protagonist of resurgent Dalit politics in the key western state, to join the party.

Both leaders are vocal critics of the BJP government in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state, where assembly elections are due this winter. He was accompanied by Congress leader and former Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot and Bharat Singh Solanki (Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief), reported Times of India.

Top state BJP leaders besides Shah have addressed OBC meets in Gujarat. "We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future", Solanki told reporters.

"Our agitation will continue even if the Congress comes to power if our demands are not met", he said, adding that he had maintained this several times.




The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA.

"Though the BJP is trying its best to win the polls, it will not succeed in stopping the Congress' victory march to Gandhinagar". The party also kept the doors open for the Sharad Pawar-led NCP despite the fact that it had ditched the Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls. Responding to the offer, Hardik said: "Although I believe we must unite against the BJP, this is not a BJP-Congress election". The minimum age required for a person to contest an Assembly or Lok Sabha election in is 25. Hardik Patel himself said, "I can not contest polls (He is 24 years old and the necessary age to contest elections is 25) and I will not contest".

For Congress, the proposed front with its caste combination looks impressive on paper.

Thakore, who has emerged as a strong OBC leader along with Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mewani during the last two years, announced his move in New Delhi after an evening meeting with Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi.

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