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23 October 2017, 02:25 | Katrina Lee
Amit Dave Reuters
Chhotu Vasava, the lone JD (U) MLA in Gujarat, had voted for Congress candidate and party chief Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel in the recent Rajya Sabha elections in Gujarat, defying his party leadership.
The two leaders, who were prominent faces of Hardik Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), announced their decision to join the BJP following their meeting with party chief Amit Shah on Saturday.
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.
He also said that he has to defeat BJP in Gujarat and will campaign against them. "It's the time of elections, we will not let Congress take victory in Gujarat", Varun Patel told ANI.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who held parlyes with top Gujarat party leaders, Ashok Ghelot and Madhav Singh Solanki and Mr Thakor will be in Gujarat on Monday.
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The last Congress government in Gujarat was led by Chhabildas Mehta from February 17, 1994 to March 13, 1995.
After joining the BJP, the Patidar leaders alleged that Hardik Patel had become a "Congress agent" and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government.
Speaking to media person outside Rahul's residence in Delhi, Thakore said that on October 23, the Congress vice president will address a mega rally in poll bound state where he will join the grand old party. Congress was "hopeful" that AAP could join hands with them before the polls. The constitutional amendment bill, however, could not be passed as the Congress stalled it in the Rajya Sabha, following its passage in the Lok Sabha. Technically, Hardik Patel can not contest elections as he is underage. 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.
Congress managers claimed Hardik had agreed to lend tactical support to them without entering into a formal pact. Hardik Patel himself said, "I can not contest polls (He is 24 years old and the necessary age to contest elections is 25) and I will not contest". The Patidar community leader said that it was time for a BJP-mukt Gujarat.
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