"Will Become Voice Of Voiceless:" Jignesh Mevani After Gujarat Results

Gujarat Election Results 2017: Jignesh Mevani, who, along with Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor, became the Congress's key weapons in the Gujarat campaign, won from Vadgam, a constituency that the BJP won last time.

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Gujarat Election Results 2017: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, backed by Congress, won in Vadgam


New Delhi:  Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani, one-third of a troika that challenged the ruling BJP in Gujarat, on Monday ruled out joining any political party after winning his debut election as an independent candidate with Congress support. Calling himself "younger than Prime Minister Narendra Modi", the 37-year-old lawyer-activist said the Gujarat polls would have nationwide impact and he was ready to gather forces against the BJP on a national level.

"He (PM Modi) has a tendency of calling himself a youth even at 67," he quipped in an interview to NDTV, describing the BJP as a "fascist" party.

In a contest  that was often close and mostly tough, the BJP on Monday retained Gujarat but missed the century-mark in the 182-member assembly. The Congress went down fighting, winning 80 seats.

Jignesh Mevani, who, along with Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor, became the Congress's key weapons in the Gujarat campaign, won from Vadgam, a constituency that the BJP won last time.

"My temper has been fabulous, supreme, sublime and devastatingly great," Mr Mevani said in a breathless stream of hyperboles, describing his reaction to the campaign and his victory after being written off by the BJP.

"I got immense affection from the people of Vadgam...it was incredible."

Alpesh Thakor, 40, who was recruited by the Congress before the elections as a representative of the OBC or Other backward Castes in Gujarat, also won from Radhanpur, one of the state's largest constituencies.

Hardik Patel, 23, is the only one who didn't contest as he is too young to qualify. But the face of the Patel or Patidar campaign for quotas in government jobs and education appeared to have delivered a setback for the BJP in Saurashtra, where the Patidar vote counts.

All three leaders are seen to have given valuable street power to the Congress, which ended up with its best tally in the state since 1985.

Mr Mevani felt that compared to Hardik and Alpesh, he needs to cover more ground. "I need to put in more time and energy to fight against forces like the BJP. Me personally, I haven't been able to catch people's imagination like Hardik and alpesh across the country. I will try my best to deliver as an MLA...I will try hard to bring together forces against the BJP," he said, self-critical.

"No matter how great you are in the streets, you need voice in assembly and parliament. You need clarity that revolution will not happen in the assembly and you still need to be with people on the street. I will become the voice of the voiceless people in the assembly and continue the politics of agitation as well," he explained.

The Gujarat result, said Mr Mevani, would have "tremendous impact" on upcoming polls including the 2019 national election. "The BJP was arrogant and talked about 150...it is now in double digits." he said.

Mr Mevani's rival Lavingji Thakor was in the Congress earlier but joined the BJP after he was denied a ticket by the Congress.


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