With first phase of polling beginning on Saturday for Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017. Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to be on a four-day high-octane campaign for his party in central and north Gujarat. He will cover Patan, Banaskantha and Mehsana districts which are known Patidar fortresses.

Rahul Gandhi has also lent his support to Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and will jointly be holding a rally in Kanodar village of Vadgam from where Mevani is contesting as an independent candidate. Vadgam seat is reserved for scheduled castes (SC) and that will give an edge to Mewani.

Mevani, as per an understanding with the Congress, has been extended support by the national party which has shifted their sittings MLA Mani Vaghela to Idar so as to allow Mewani to lead and directly contest against BJP.

Mevani had declared to contest from Vadgam as an independent candidate on the last day of filing nominations for the second phase. He claims to have tremendous support from the Dalit Community in Vadgam and that is why he chose to contest from that seat.

Congress party, in turn, is hopeful of drawing Dalit voters to its fold through Mevani and this may help them uproot BJP from the state.

As per sources, it is Mevani who has requested Rahul Gandhi to hold a public meeting in the assembly seat so as to draw maximum votes for Mevani.

Mevani : Congress’ Dalit trump card

Mevani, who has been a critic of the Hindu extremist organisation, RSS and BJP, has been facing a tough time for the anti-Hindu remarks he had made earlier.

Recently, Mevani was photographed receiving a cheque from members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), the political wing of the Popular Front of India (PFI).

The Popular Front of India (PFI) has been under the NIA radar after many of its members were allegedly found fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

The cheque was handed over by SDPI general secretary of Karnataka, Abdullah Majeed Sab. Majeed mentioned that they would extend full support to the party who would fight communal forces.

Vadgam constituency will see polling on 14 December, in the second phase of Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017. It is yet to be seen if Mevani actually gets the Dalit support that he claims. 

Rahul Gandhi’s tour for the day has been planned to cover four areas- Chanasma, Vadgam, Vadnagar, and Vijapur. From Patan’s Chanasama, Rahul will reach Vadgam in Banaskantha’s district by 2:30 pm.

After addressing a public meeting there, he shall fly to PM Modi’s hometown Vadnagar at 4:00 pm. Vadnagar is a municipality in Mehsana district.

The Mehsana assembly constituency seat is held by Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel. After the public rally in Vadnagar, he shall take a bus to Vijapur, the Patidar dominant area and attend a rally at 6:00 pm.