Gujarat assembly elections 2017: Two Hardik Patel supporters join BJP

Congress invites Hardik Patel Hardik Patel news Gujarat elections politics news latest news India news

The Congress reached out to opposition parties in Gujarat on Saturday with an eye on an anti-BJP front and received a shot in the arm as other backward class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor said he will join the party.

Solanki expressed confidence that the party would easily win over 125 seats in the 182-member House with the "support and blessings" of all these leaders. Reshma and Varun Patel both have reportedly accused the Patidar's leader of becoming a Congress agent.

His key aides joined the BJP after a meeting with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and state party chief Jitu Vaghani during its parliamentary board meeting, which was also attended by BJP president Amit Shah. "I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls". Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls.

Hardik Patel then said that it's "not the Congress, but six crore Gujaratis who will fight against the BJP".

Another youth Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is reportedly in touch with top Congress leaders.

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Chhotu Vasava, the lone JD (U) MLA in Gujarat, had voted for Congress candidate and party chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, defying his party leadership. As BJP failed to win over Hardik Patel, it successfully drove a wedge in his camp.

Apart from these leaders, the Congress also hinted at forging a pre-poll alliance with Sharad Pawar's NCP.

The party is also confident of securing the support of Hardik Patel, the 24-year-old leader leading the influential Patidar community's stir for reservation in education and jobs.

PAAS leader Dinesh Bhambhania told a Gujarat TV channel, "A couple of ambitious people joining BJP or leaving the Patidar movement won't have any impact on us". The minimum age required for a person to contest an Assembly or Lok Sabha election in is 25. "We do not want to be part of such malicious conspiracy", Reshma Patel said.

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