Cong confident of Patidar support; Rahul to hit campaign trail on Nov 24

Cong confident of Patidar support; Rahul to hit campaign trail on Nov 24

The Congress is confident of the support of the powerful Patidar community - traditional BJP supporters - in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly election and dismissed the tough negotiations with Hardik Patel as a minor blip.

AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot said that despite the hiccups in reaching a pre-poll arrangement with the Hardik-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), both share a common goal of defeating the BJP.

"Be it Hardik Patel or Jignesh Mevani, they will work as per their plans. But, we expect them to support us. They are also working to defeat the BJP," Gehlot told reporters here.

The Congress is also not shutting the doors on the rebel group of JD(U) and NCP for a pre-poll alliance. "Our doors are open till November 27 - the last date of filing of nominations," Gehlot said when asked about NCP's decision to field candidates on all 182 Assembly seats in the state.

Gehlot said the controversy surrounding the Deepika Padukone-starrer Padmavati was deliberately allowed to fester to further BJP interests in Gujarat. "The issue should have been sorted out much earlier by the intervention of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry," he said.

Rahul's campaign

In a bid to keep the momentum of campaign for December elections, Rahul Gandhi is expected to tour Gujarat on Friday and Saturday, taking out road shows and addressing rallies in central and north Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to hit the campaign trail later this week and is likely to address rallies in each of the 33 districts of the state.

Another Congress leader admitted that party negotiators only held talks with Hardik Patel, who was the face of the Patidar agitation and did not involve other members of his outfit. "Every person had personal ambitions and they were furthering their own political interests," the leader said.

"In any negotiation, all demands are never met. We still believe that there will be no damage to the Congress on support from the Patidaar community," the leader said.

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