The Dalit youth leader Jignesh Mevani on Thursday reiterated that he will not join any political party, including the Congress.
"My name is being invoked respectfully by Congress vice president and I have been invited by several senior Congress leaders to join the party. But most probably I will not join any political party ahead of Assembly polls," Jignesh Mevani told mediapersons.
"We have put forth a charter of 17 demands and only if the Congress assures us a favourable resolution, we shall make our stand clear on our support."
However, he made it clear that he would oppose the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
"The BJP's anti-Dalit stance is pretty clear. They are not ready to even talk. Former chief minister Anandiben Patel had promised land and jobs to the family of Una public flogging victims, but nothing happened," he said.
"They have been sitting on the report of Dalit killings in police firing at Thangadh for five years now. They have allotted land to Dalits on paper but not given physical possession for decades," Mevani said.
Mevani came out on Thursday with rising chorus in media that he will join the Congress and has had meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who was on a three-day roadshow in South Gujarat in this connection.
However, he has denied this on social media platform saying that the news was "wrong".
Senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot had on Wednesday claimed that all the three youth community leaders, Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani were with the Congress, are with the Congress and shall remain with the Congress.
While Thakore has formally joined the Congress, Hardik and Jignesh are sending mixed signals towards the party.
Con woos another youth leader
In another related development, Pravin Ram, a 27-year-old leader of Jan Adhikar Manch, met Ashok Gehlot and state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki in South Gujarat. He is also slated to meet Rahul Gandhi on Thursday or Friday.
Ram has in the recent past been getting decent traction for his fight on the issues of government employees on fixed-pay and contracts, which he claims need to be abolished.
Gujarat has around 4.5 lakh youngsters employed with the state government on a fixed-pay basis and another 10 lakh who are working on contractual basis.
Pravin Ram has been spearheading the fight for them to be treated as government employees and extend benefits as salary hike under Seventh Pay Commission.
"I have submitted a memorandum to the Congress and if they clarify their stand on our issues and get the public mandate, we can think of supporting it," Pravin Ram told mediapersons.
The BJP is also trying to wean away Ram to its fold, but with Ram holding parleys with the Congress leadership, a shift by one more youth leader has definitely not come as a positive news for the ruling establishment.