Gujarat election is not a BJP-Cong fight: Hardik Patel

ANI | Updated: Oct 21, 2017 18:29 IST

Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India] Oct.21 (ANI): Gujarat's Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday turned down the Congress' invitation to fight the Gujarat Assembly election jointly, saying the polls were not a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Congress fight.

Patel was responding to Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki invitation to him and other caste-based leaders to join in the fight against the BJP in the Gujarat Assembly polls.

"Although, I believe we must unite against the BJP, this isn't a BJP-Congress election but of six crore people of Gujarat," Patel told ANI.

When asked to comment on the Congress' invitation to fight election, Patel said, "Constitutionally speaking, I can't contest the election, and I don't need to in the first place".

Earlier, Bharatsinh Solanki said in a press meet, "If Hardik Patel wants to contest election, then Congress invites him to do so."

Solanki further added: "All options are open. Those who come with Congress can contest on their own, with Congress supporting their candidature, or they can also contest under Congress symbol."

The Patidar leader also sought clarification on Congress' promise of giving Patidars 20 percent of reservation.

In the run up to the Gujarat election, the Congress has promised to give Patidars 20 percent reservations under the "economically backward classes" quota.

Last year, the state government also announced 10 percent quota for economically backward Patidars and other castes in educational institutions, but it was struck down as unconstitutional by the Gujarat High Court four months later.

The 14th legislative assembly election in Gujarat is to be held by the end of 2017 as the term of 13th assembly ends on January 22, 2018.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is heading his party's poll campaign in Gujarat. He is eyeing to dethrone the ruling BJP in Gujarat. The last Congress government in Gujarat was led by Chhabildas Mehta from February 17, 1994 to March 13, 1995.

Ruling BJP, has launched Gujarat Gaurav Yatra, its biggest mass outreach programme in poll-bound Gujarat, that will cover 149 out of 182 constituencies.

The yatra publicises the achievements of the BJP government across the state. Many top BJP leaders like Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Uma Bharti, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have participated in the yatra and campaigned for the party. (ANI)