Alpesh Thakore And Jignesh Mevani, Big Congress Hopes, Lead In Gujarat

Alpesh Thakore And Jignesh Mevani, Big Congress Hopes, Lead In Gujarat


NEW DELHI:  Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakore, two key hopes for the Congress in Gujarat, were ahead in early leads as votes were counted in the crucial state.

Alpesh Thakore, 40, was trailing initially but picked up soon to take a lead in Radhanpur, one of the largest constituencies in Gujarat. His rival Lavingji Thakor was in the Congress earlier but later joined the BJP after he was denied a ticket by the Congress.

During campaigning, Mr Thakore had drawn derision when he suggested that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had glowing skin because he had mushrooms from Taiwan every day.

The Congress recruited the backward caste leader ahead of the polls to try and win the support pf the state's 30 per cent OBCs.

The Congress also supported Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader, not fielding a candidate against the 35-year-old in Vadgam. Mr Mevani was also supported by AAP.

Yesterday, Mr Mevani rubbished predictions of a BJP victory and said: "Exit Polls are nonsense. BJP is definitely going to lose this time and will not form the government."

Jignesh and Alpesh, along with Hardik Patel - the face of the Patel or Patidar campaign - form the troika that the Congress has pinned its hopes on this time.

An hour into counting of votes, it was a close fight in Gujarat. The BJP is leading in 91 of the key state's 182 seats, the Congress in 79, with the latter gaining in 20 seats that it had lost last time. The BJP is trailing in 16 seats it had won in 2012.

Gujarat has 182 assembly seats and a party needs 92 or more to form government. 

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