Three musketeers behind Congress

They helped party put up a good fight

December 18, 2017 10:27 pm | Updated December 01, 2021 06:29 am IST - AHMEDABAD

From left: Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel

From left: Alpesh Thakor, Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel

With 77 seats, the Congress has put up its best performance in Gujarat since 1990, when it won only 33 seats. With the help of three young social activists, the Congress almost dislodged the ruling BJP from its strongest citadel.

The three social activists who played a crucial role in creating an anti-BJP environment are Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani, who won as an Independent from the Scheduled Caste-reserved Vadgam seat with the backing of the Congress; Alpesh Thakor, who won from Radhanpur on the Congress ticket; and Hardik Patel, who is too young to contest, but campaigned extensively against the BJP.


Two Congress candidates, Kirit Patel from Patan and Lalit Vasoya from Dhoraji were earlier associated with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and both won. The Congress also won in Morbi, Tankara, Jamjodhpur, Kalavad, Becharaji, Unjha, Mansa and Alpesh and Hardik’s home town Viramgam, apparently due to the Patidar factor.

However, in the urban Surat, Rajkot and Ahmedabad seats, the Patidars do not appear to have voted against the BJP as was expected considering massive response Hardik Patel’s rallies and roadshows had generated there.

If Hardik has helped in shifting Patidars in some pockets from the BJP to the Congress, Alpesh Thakor’s entry helped the Congress to consolidate its traditional Thakor OBC base in North Gujarat where it has retained most of its seats.

Strategy shift

“We consolidated our Thakor vote bank in North Gujarat, thanks to Alpesh Thakor. But our sitting legislators lost in a few seats because of the anti-incumbency factor,” said a Congress leader. “Had the party dropped some of its sitting legislators and brought in new faces, it would perhaps have retained all the seats it won in 2012.”

After the results were declared, Hardik Patel in his first reaction said his agitation for quota would continue in the State. He then went on to raise doubts about the EVMs. “I still believe the machines are not fool-proof and the ECI should come clean on it,” he said.

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