Hardik Patel's close aides join BJP

Gujarat Assembly poll Congress invites Hardik Patel Jignesh Mevani to join fight against BJP

Following this, Thakor, along with Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki earlier reached the residence of Congress Party vice president Rahul Gandhi.

Soon thereafter, Thakor said Rahul Gandhi would attend a rally organised by him on 23 October where "I will join the Congress party".

The Congress had given both Hardik Patel and Mr Mevani an open invitation to join the party.

Two leaders from the Patidar community in Gujarat, Reshma Patel, and Varun Patel have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is heading his party's poll campaign in Gujarat. Mr Vasava had supported Congress in the Rajya Sabha elections held in August. The sources said the BJP would rely on a similar plank in Karnataka where Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who himself hails from a backward caste (Kuruba), of the Congress is relying on a coalition of OBCs, Dalits and minorities to win a second term. "It's the time of elections, we will not let Congress take victory in Gujarat", Varun Patel told ANI. The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA close to Sharad Yadav. The Congress is attempting to set up an anti-BJP front in Gujarat where polls are a few months away. "I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls". I can not contest elections myself because of constitutional provisions, nor do I want. He further added that while the state government led by BJP held talks with them and tried resolving various issues, the Congress never held talks with them, PTI said.

However, having said that, it is also clear that Congress is acquiring great support from the OBC community and the Dalit. Lashing out at the ruling saffronites, Hardik Patel said, "BJP is only fooling and threatening people". BJP, indeed, would have a tough time combating the three different powerful communities- Patidar, OBC and Dalit- backing the Congress.

But, then, the mega-front is up against the personality and charisma of Mr Modi, who continues to remain the biggest draw in the state and an icon of "Gujarati pride".

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