BJP's OBC commission pitch to counter Congress in Gujarat, Karnataka

"I am very happy that Mr Thakor had a meeting with our vice president and agreed to join the Congress party".

The Election Commission is yet to announce the date for the Gujarat polls. "Unemployment is a huge problem with lakhs of youngsters without jobs, more than 74,000 farmers are neck deep in debt, illicit liquor flows freely in the state despite prohibition and education and health sectors are in a total mess", Thakore told reporters.

The announcement came hours after the Congress, which has been out of power in Gujarat for over two decades now, invited Patidar quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, a protagonist of resurgent Dalit politics in the key western state, to join the party. A couple of months ago, PAAS leader Hardik Patel had called upon people to vote for the Congress. The EC had however indicated that the polls in the state where the Congress has been out of power for 22 years will be held before December 18. The state will go to polls later this year. "We want our right (OBC status) and we will continue to fight for the same", said Patel.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who held parlyes with top Gujarat party leaders, Ashok Ghelot and Madhav Singh Solanki and Mr Thakor will be in Gujarat on Monday.

The party had also urged the Patidar leader Hardik Patel to contest elections promising full support. Technically, Hardik Patel can not contest elections as he is underage.

"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. He said: "If Congress supports our issues, we will support the party to the hilt".

Jignesh Mewani, on the other hand, said, "I am determined to defeat the BJP not only in Gujarat but also in the Lok Sabha elections in 2019". The Patidar community leader said that it was time for a BJP-mukt Gujarat.

The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA.

  • Joey Payne