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Jignesh Mevani says he is not in race for CM post in Gujarat polls

Gujarat Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani has expressed hope that the Congress may not project anyone as its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming assembly polls in the Western state and a “collective leadership” would be taking on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Dalit leader, who is closely working with the Congress although he did not join the party officially, said the party should elect the face emerging from the people’s movement to head the government if it wins the elections.

Talking to PTI, Mevani, who was in Kochi campaigning for Congress candidate contesting the bypoll in Thrikkakara assembly constituency, however, said he was not in the race for the top post.

“No no…We will go with the collective leadership”, he said when asked whether the Congress will project anyone as its chief ministerial face in the Gujarat assembly polls.

“It is the people’s movement from which the faces emerge. So, the Congress party or any other political party for that matter… requires those faces which are emerged from people’s movement”, said Mevani who won from Vadgam in Banaskantha district in 2017 Gujarat assembly polls with Congress support,

Asked if he is ready to take up the role if it is offered to him, Mevani said, “No no…I am not into those races.”

Mevani claimed that Patidar community leader Hardik Patel’s resignation from the Congress did not create much impact for the party.

“Not much…temporary setback and a little bit of media attention. But it doesn’t create much impact,” he said responding to a query.

Mevani, convener of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, said the Congress has got “more than a good chance to win the Gujarat assembly polls” as the people are “really upset with the BJP” whose rule, according to him, has witnessed slowing down of economy, rising inflation, prevalence of unemployment and the divide the people of the state on communal lines.

“People of Gujarat are aware of the situation — and during the COVID-19, the performance of the Gujarat government was so pathetic. They had to change the CM and entire Cabinet. There is resentment among the masses. People are really upset with the BJP”, Mevani claimed.

Referring to the protests organised by the Congress against the state’s BJP government when it tried to implement projects affecting tribals and all other sections of the society, he said the Congress, after losing elections in four states, is more sincerely working in Gujarat to build their organisational base.

Mevani said when he was arrested by the police for his tweets against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, thousands of people had hit the streets and when the Congress party took up such causes, “there will be some momentum in our favour.”

He also expressed hope that few people will join the Congress in the coming days.

Mevani, who was arrested by Assam police recently for his tweet against Modi, alleged that the BJP government was targeting him as they are worried about his credibility and popularity.

“I have a lot of credibility, people have faith in me. When I was arrested, people demonstrated everywhere. Now the Congress party is with me, Rahul Gandhi is with me. I can be a big ideological threat to them (BJP).

“And secondly, they had a notion for themselves that they can get away with anything. They don’t care about perception, they don’t care about the constitution, they don’t care about rule of law. Since I have been talking against Modi and RSS… they want to teach me a lesson. They want to silence me. This is vendetta politics”, Mevani alleged.

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