Ahead of Gujarat Assembly polls, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor to join Congress

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Both joined the BJP late this evening and went on to describe Hardik Patel as a "Congress agent". "Our agitation was about getting reservation under the OBC quota, not about uprooting the BJP and bringing the Congress to power". "I appeal to Hardik to support the Congress during the polls".

While Modi will inaugurate a slew of developmental projects before the model code of conduct kicks in, Rahul will undertake the third phase of his yatra during November 1-3, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said. "Varun and I are of the opinion that the BJP would definitely fulfil our demands", Reshma Patel said.

The Congress reached out to opposition parties in Gujarat on Saturday with an eye on an anti-BJP front and received a shot in the arm as other backward class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor said he will join the party. As BJP failed to win over Hardik Patel, it successfully drove a wedge in his camp. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the best bet for the ruling BJP will also be rushing to Gujarat on Sunday.

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Thakore, meanwhile, said he and his supporters would formally join the Congress at a massive rally in Gandhinagar on Monday. The party also kept the doors open for the Sharad Pawar-led NCP despite the fact that it had ditched the Congress in the Rajya Sabha polls. Thakore had also met BJP chief Amit Shah some time ago before he made his announcement yesterday after meeting Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. "We are also ready to give him a ticket if he wants to fight elections in the future", Solanki said. The minimum age required for a person to contest an Assembly or Lok Sabha election in is 25. I can not contest elections myself because of constitutional provisions, nor do I want. He said: "If Congress supports our issues, we will support the party to the hilt".

Hardik Patel, the Patidar leader who spearheaded a prolonged agitation for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for people of his community, was rather tepid in his response to the Congress' invitation. The Congress is out of power in Gujarat for 22 years.