Gujarat polls: OBC leader Alpesh joins Congress; 2 Hardik aides embrace BJP

Patidar leader Hardik Patel

Congress wants 'big three' in Gujarat alliance

Soon after, Varun Patel and Reshma Patel, Patidar leaders closely associated with the PAAS movement, joined the BJP, profusely praising the ruling party, which they suddenly found to have considered all their demands.

"Rahul Gandhi would be coming to our rally on Oct 23 and I will join the Congress party", Thakor, who has emerged as the OBC face in Gujarat, said in New Delhi after a meeting with Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi.

The moves are aimed at boosting the Congress's prospects in a state where the party is out of power for 22 years.

However, speaking to ANI, Patel said that he could not contest elections because of his age, but agreed with the Congress to unite against the BJP.

With the Congress hoping for OBC consolidation in its favour in Gujarat and Karnataka, the BJP is likely to play up the opposition party's decision to stall the Modi government's OBC commission bill in Parliament to counter it in the two poll-bound states. "I hope that the Patidar agitation leader Hardik will also join us", Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said after the meeting with Mr. Gandhi. "Our agitation was about getting reservation under the OBC quota, not about uprooting the BJP and bringing the Congress to power. Whether I will contest the polls for Congress or join the party will be jointly decided by Dalit organisations and leaders in the state". 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. Immediately after joining the BJP, the Patel aides targeted their former leader and were all praise for the BJP. "We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future", Solanki said. Technically, Hardik Patel can not contest elections as he is underage. Lashing out at the ruling saffronites, Hardik Patel said, "BJP is only fooling and threatening people". The issues, Hardik Patel has been stressing on include reserrvation for Patidars, farm loan waiver and job creation.

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