Two young leaders from Gujarat, who emerged as the faces of their respective communities before the 2017 assembly elections, are likely to make major political moves in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, according to people close to them.
While Patidar leader Hardik Patel has decided to join the Congress ahead of the March 12 Congress Working Committee meeting in Ahmedabad, party MLA and Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor may defect to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“I am joining the Congress, but have not decided the date. My priority is to join on March 12,” Patel told HT on Thursday, adding he was yet to decide on where to contest the LS polls from.
Patel’s outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was at the forefront of an agitation demanding reservation benefit for the community in government jobs and college admissions, had declared its support to the Congress party in the local body elections in 2015 and 2017 Gujarat assembly polls.
Confirming the development, a senior Congress leader, who asked not to be named, said, “Hardik is joining the Congress, but it’s not clear when.”
The Congress is focussing on Gujarat, the home state of PM Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and had given a tough fight to the ruling party in the last assembly polls in the state.
On the speculation of Patel joining the Congress, one his close aides said, “Why would we go to a Congress function. Even if Hardik decides to join [Congress], it will be at his show of strength where the Congress leadership would be invited.”
Mar 08, 2019 00:24 IST
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