Patidar leader Hardik Patel kept the Congress guessing on Saturday after being invited by the grand old party to join hands against BJP in the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections. Hardik Patel, however, said that although he believes it is necessary to unite against BJP, it isn’t only a BJP-Congress election and 6 crore people of Gujarat’s future depend on it.
He also said that constitutionally, neither can he contest the elections nor does he intend to do so. Apart from Hardik Patel, Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor and dalit leader Jignesh Mevani were also invited for a pre-poll alliance.
If that was not enough, the Congress also hinted at an alliance with Sharad Pawar-led NCP. Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad on Saturday, state Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki expressed confidence that the party would easily win over 125 seats, out of total 182, with the "support and blessings" of all these leaders and parties.
Constitutionally speaking, I can't contest election and I don't need to, in the first place: Hardik Patel pic.twitter.com/NvlACG0xzI— ANI (@ANI) October 21, 2017
"Though the BJP is trying its best to win the polls, it will not succeed in stopping the Congress' victory march to Gandhinagar. "We respect as well as endorse the cause for which Hardik Patel is fighting. I appeal to Hardik to support theCongress during the polls.
We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future," Solanki told reporters.
"Similarly, we also invite Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the Congress. I also invite Chhotu Vasava, who helped us in the Rajya Sabha polls, to support the Congress," he said.
Though the NCP had "betrayed" Congress in the RS polls, the party's doors are still open for them if they also want to overthrow the BJP from Gujarat, he added.
In the Rajya Sabha polls, two NCP MLAs claimed to have voted for BJP candidate Balwantsinh Rajput despite their promise to vote for Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
JD(U)'s lone MLA Vasava, whose party has formed the government in Bihar with the support of BJP, had voted for Ahmed Patel, who eventually won the election.
Vasava had said after the Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat in August this year that he had decided to vote for the Congress candidate as he was "unhappy" with the ruling party's works for the poor and tribal population that he represents.
He was elected from Scheduled Tribe-reserved Jhagadia assembly seat in Bharuch district in south Gujarat. Solanki also claimed that some Aam Admi Party (AAP)leaders from Gujarat were also in contact with his party and may join hands with it ahead of the polls.
Senior AAP leader Kanubhai Kalsariya had met Rahul Gandhi during the latter's visit to central Gujarat early in October. "Just like Kalsariya, many other AAP leaders are intouch with us. They may join the Congress soon," Solankiclaimed. He claimed that his party has emerged as a strong contender in the upcoming polls. The Congress is out of power in Gujarat for 22 years.
With PTI inputs