The Congress has given both Mr Patel and Mr Mevani an open invitation to join the party.
Summary: As political temperature is soaring in poll bound Gujarat, party-switching has started. "Unemployment is a huge problem with lakhs of youngsters without jobs, more than 74,000 farmers are neck deep in debt, illicit liquor flows freely in the state despite prohibition and education and health sectors are in a total mess", Thakore told reporters.
Solanki had invited Patidar leader Hardik Patel and other caste-based leaders to join in the fight against the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls.
Earlier in the day, the battle for Gujarat seemed to be tilting in favour of the Congress as the party had managed to stitch up a mega front against the BJP comprising all the three influential community leaders - Hardik Patel of Patedar community, Gujarat's Dalit face Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor.
Solanki expressed confidence that the party would easily win over 125 seats in the 182-member House with the "support and blessings" of all these leaders. "We stand by our proposal of keeping 49 per cent reservations for OBC, SC/ST intact and passing a resolution in the Assembly once in power to provide for 20 per cent reservations to other communities", he had said. The state will go to polls later this year.
The dramatic turn of events came hours after Hardik Patel declared his support for the Congress. "And in Gujarat, a government of the poor, backward and unemployed will be formed", Thakor said after meeting with Congress vice-president.
"It is time to throw out the BJP in Gujarat".
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. Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls.
The Congress also invited like-minded parties and leaders including Aam Aadmi Party and Chhotu Vasava, a tribal deader and JD (U) MLA. He is also trying to make Congress Party's vote bank strong. However, Hardik said that he will continue to fight till he has public support. I can not contest elections myself because of constitutional provisions, nor do I want. "Though initially, we had refused, if they agree with the Congress on issues, we have not closed our doors", Solanki said. The Patidar community leader said that it was time for a BJP-mukt Gujarat.
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