Hardik Patel Gujarat Congress Alpesh Thakor Jignesh Mevani Image Credit: FRONTLINE
Hardik Patel Gujarat Congress Alpesh Thakor Jignesh Mevani Image Credit: FRONTLINE

The Three Challengers

Three young leaders, Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, determined to dethrone the BJP in Gujarat, have already changed the politics of the State, which has seen unchallenged rule by the party for over two decades.

Anupama Katakam

It is widely predicted that the triumvirate of Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani will change the game in Gujarat’s politics. Young, dynamic, ambitious, aggressive and with a common agenda of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), not only has each of them become a force within his community, but together they are expected to cause an overhaul that is arguably required in a State that has been ruled unchallenged by the BJP for 22 years.

Political observers say this will be the first Assembly election in decades where there is “some contest”. Narendra Modi’s spell, they say, may finally be broken. An interesting combination of factors has shaken things up: energy infused by the three rising leaders and a change in the mood towards the BJP, which until recently had a vice-like grip on the State.

Whether the trio has the heft to pull off a swing will obviously be known once the results are out. After all, the might of national parties should not be underestimated. For now, the threesome’s call is anti-BJP. Alpesh Thakor has joined the Congress. Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani are reluctant to join a party but are informally aligned with the Congress to defeat the BJP.

Hardik Patel leads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS); Alpesh Thakor, the OSS (Other Backward Classes,

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