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'Patidar's fight was to attain OBC quota, not to make Congress win'

'Patidar's fight was to attain OBC quota, not to make Congress win'

The Congress got a shot in the arm on Saturday after Gujarat OBC leader and Ekta Manch chief Alpesh Thakor said that he would join the party on October 23 at a rally in Gandhinagar in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. "The (Gujarat) model which was highlighted to form the government at the Centre... you go and ask in Gujarat, where there are more than 7 lakh unemployed youths, where 74,000 farmers are indebted, where there is a ban on liquor but 10,000 to 15,000 people die every year because of alcohol, where the government education system has collapsed", he further added.

The Congress received a boost on Saturday ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls, with backward class leader Alpesh Thakor announcing his decision to join the party, after a meeting with Rahul Gandhi.

Hardik Patel then said that it's "not the Congress, but six crore Gujaratis who will fight against the BJP". Gujarat Assembly polls are slated for December, while Karnataka is likely to face it early next year.

Along with Solanki, the party's Gujarat in-charge, Ashok Gehlot, too attended the meeting of Thakor with Rahul.

The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti has been protesting against the ruling BJP-led government with demands of reservation for Patidar community.

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

Alpesh Thakur joined the party assuring that Hardik will be working with the Congress to defeat BJP. 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.

"I do not intend to contest elections". The Congress says that it is confident of bagging the support of Patel. "Though initially, we had refused, if they agree with the Congress on issues, we have not closed our doors", Solanki said. "We want our right (OBC status) and we will continue to fight for the same", said Patel.

Two leaders from the Patidar community in Gujarat, Reshma Patel, and Varun Patel have joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Patidar community leader said that it was time for a BJP-mukt Gujarat.