The young Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who also led the agitation for his community in Gujarat, welcomedCongress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi in a tweet. Rahul Gandhi it need be mentioned has arrived in the state for a three-day election campaign tour in the politically significant Saurashtra region.
The Congress hopes it signals a reversal in the way the state’s powerful Patidar community will vote in this year’s assembly election – they have for years been staunch supporters of the BJP – and Rahul Gandhi will attempt during his tour to harness the Patel anger against the BJP government for refusing to meet their demand for reservation in government colleges and jobs.
Mr Gandhi began his tour today with a visit to the Dwarkadeesh temple in Dwarka. He will travel by road in a specially designed bus through cities and villages stopping for meetings, before a night halt at Jamnagar. Over the next two days his road show will move through Jamnagar, Morbi, Rajkot and Surendranagar districts in the heart of Saurashtra, which accounts for 58 of Gujarat’s 182 assembly seats.