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.
Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader who spearheaded a prolonged agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for people of his community, was rather tepid in his response to the Congress' invitation.
The BJP is trying to win the elections, but the Congress will stop its victory march, Solanki also said.
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Ergo, India on Friday made it a point to refer to the U.S. and India's "shared commitment to a rule-based worldwide order". China, he said, uses funding mechanisms with countries that "result in saddling them with enormous levels of debt".
Reacting to the Congress invite, Hardik Patel, who has been publicly saying that he was out to defeat the "dictatorial and inhuman" BJP, said, "I am not here to contest elections and my age does not permit it, but other PAAS (Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti) members are free to do so".
"I am very happy that Mr Thakor had a meeting with our Vice President and agreed to join the Congress party". "Unlike the Congress, we have a string of well-entrenched community leaders across Gujarat". "I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls". Immediately after joining the BJP, the Patel aides targeted their former leader and were all praise for the BJP. Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will be in Gujarat on October 23 where Mr Thakor is expected to join the party. 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". "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. Technically, Hardik Patel can not contest elections as he is underage.
In the Rajya Sabha polls, two NCP MLAs claimed to have voted for BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput despite their promise to back Ahmed Patel.