Morale booster for Congress as Gujarat OBC leader joins its ranks

Party hopes to woo the community's support

Morale booster for Congress as Gujarat OBC leader joins its ranks

Congress received a boost ahead of the Gujarat polls as the young OBC leader from the state -Alpesh Thakor- decided to join the party.

On Saturday, Thakor met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi at his residence here with AICC General Secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki.

After an hour-long meeting, Thakor informed the media that Gandhi would attend Janadesh Sammelan rally organized by his outfit OBC-SC-ST Ekta Manch, where he would announce joining the Congress.

Soon after the announcement, Patidar leader Hardik Patel tweeted: “Best of luck, Alpesh Thakor”.

Congress had earlier invited Thakor, Hardik Patel and state’s dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to join hands and defeat the ruling BJP in the elections likely before December 18.

The party is also hoping to tie-up with the JD(U) faction led by influential tribal leader Chotubhai Vasava.

Gujarat unit chief Solanki also said Congress would keep its doors open to the NCP, despite the fact that the ally had voted against its candidate in August’s Rajya Sabha polls.

With Thakor joining its ranks, Congress hopes to get the support of the OBCs in Gujarat that constitute 54% of the population. The grand old party also believes that the OBCs are unhappy with the 22-year-old BJP dispensation.

In recent times, the young OBC leader had spoken strongly on issues like unemployment, de-addiction and farmers’ distress, which Congress thinks would resonate with electorates in the state.

Party leaders believe it could give BJP a close run if it manages a coalition of dalits, OBCs and tribals. While the Patidars constitute 18% of the state’s electorates, dalits make up 7%.

However, it remains to be seen how the Congress would balance the opposing stance taken by Thakor and Patel on the crucial issue of reservation.

While Thakor supports reservation for Patidars on economic basis, he does not fancy offering a slice of the existing OBC quota.

*Alpesh Thakor met Rahul Gandhi before announcing his decision

*OBCs constitute 54% of Gujarat’s population

*Congress hopes to rope-in Patel and dalit leaders to strengthen coalition against BJP



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