Hardik Patel's close aides join BJP

Hardik Patel's close aides join BJP

Gujarat OBC leader Alpesh Thakor announced his decision to join the party, apart from Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani who is said to be in constant touch with the party.

"Rahul Gandhi would be coming to our rally on October 23, and I will join the Congress party", Alpesh told reporters here. "We stand by our proposal of keeping 49 per cent reservations for OBC, SC/ST intact and passing a resolution in the Assembly once in power to provide for 20 per cent reservations to other communities", he had said. 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. Responding to the offer, Hardik said: "Although I believe we must unite against the BJP, this is not a BJP-Congress election".

Summary: As political temperature is soaring in poll bound Gujarat, party-switching has started. "And in Gujarat, a government of the poor, backward and unemployed will be formed", Thakor said after meeting with Congress vice-president.

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The last Congress government in Gujarat was led by Chhabildas Mehta from February 17, 1994 to March 13, 1995.

"If Hardik Patel wants to contest elections in future, the Congress is ready to give him ticket". The Congress has given both Mr Patel and Mr Mevani an open invitation to join the party. Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls. Technically, Hardik Patel can not contest elections as he is underage. The constitutional amendment bill, however, could not be passed as the Congress stalled it in the Rajya Sabha, following its passage in the Lok Sabha. "We could not have conceded so much to an outsider as the Congress, which has been out of power for over 22 years and has seen desertion by its top leaders", a BJP leader said, noting that its pre-eminent leader and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also hails from an OBC caste. "I also invite Chhotu Vasava, who helped us in the Rajya Sabha polls, to support the Congress", he said.

Congress managers claimed Hardik had agreed to lend tactical support to them without entering into a formal pact.

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