Congress wants 'big three' in Gujarat alliance

Congress wants 'big three' in Gujarat alliance

The Congress on Saturday sent out an open invite to three young men who have rocked Gujarat politics for the last two years - Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani.

The Congress also sent invites to the Aam Aadmi Party, JD(U) and the NCP to form a broad alliance against the ruling BJP for the Assembly polls.

“The Congress's 'vijay yatra' has begun. This yatra is moving towards over 125 seats. We want to invite the important factors in Gujarat these days – Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh – to come and join us in our endeavour to throw out the BJP,” said Bharatsinh Solanki, Gujarat Congress chief.

The Congress, that has been out of power in the state for the last 22 years, is sensing an opportunity to return to power in the absence of Narendra Modi from state politics and a series of agitations by Patel, OBC and Dalit communities.

Calling Hardik a youth leader, Solanki said that the Congress was open to him contesting elections from its platform.

Solanki said, “PAAS workers and leaders are also angry with the BJP. We invite Hardik, PAAS workers, leaders and Patidaar community to come and join the Congress.”

The Gujarat Congress chief also said that the party has considered the demands of all three community leaders, including Alpesh and Jignesh, and are willing to support their demands.

“We stand by our proposal of keeping 49% reservations for OBC, SC/ST intact and passing a resolution in the Assembly once in power to provide for 20% reservations to other communities. We will send the resolution to BJP-controlled Parliament and impress upon them to pass our resolution,” he said.

Solanki said that his party would also approach the Supreme Court to ensure that its proposal for 20% additional reservations is approved.

Reacting to Solanki’s statement, Hardik tweeted that he was not interested in contesting polls but wanted "justice and rights for our community. We are fighting against the arrogant and we shall win."

After the recent Rajya Sabha where Congress leader Ahmed Patel barely scraped through, the party had shut its doors on an alliance with the NCP.

Both levelled allegations against each other for breaking the alliance.

“The NCP had back-stabbed us in the Rajya Sabha polls. I now hear that they are ready to join hands with the Congress. Though initially, we had refused, if they agree with the Congress on issues, we have not closed our doors,” Solanki said.

The Congress has also announced truck with the lone JD(U) legislator, Chhotubhai Vasava of the Sharad Yadav camp, who had helped the Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls by voting for Ahmed Patel.

“We are also in talks with several AAP leaders and workers. We expect them to join us,” Solanki said, adding, “Kanu Kalsaria from AAP will also join the Congress.”

To this, Kalsaria, the seniormost AAP leader in the state, said: "I am looking to fight from Mahuva seat as an Independent and get the Congress to leave that seat for me. In return, we will support them on seats in the surrounding areas."

DH News Service

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