West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday congratulated Patidar leader Hardik Patel for the “great job” that he had done ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls.
“He has done a great job at such a young age. He has worked really hard. I have telephoned him and conveyed my congratulations,” Banerjee, also the Trinamool Congress chief, told reporters at the state secretariat Nabanna, a day after the declaration of the poll results, which saw BJP retaining the state narrowly.
She said she would also call up two other young politicians – Other Backward Classes leader Alpesh Thakor and Dalit Leader Jignech Mevani, who won their seats in the Gujarat polls.
“I want to congratulate these two young leaders for their positive show,” said Banerjee.
Thakor won from the Radhanpur constituency by over 21,000 against BJP strongman Lavingji Thakor on a Congress ticket. Mevani fought as a Congress-backed independent, and defeated his BJP rival Vijay Chakravarti by by 19,696 votes in Vadgam.
Patel, who is yet to reach the age of 25, which would make him eligible to contest polls, heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which has been agitating for reservation for the Patel community in Gujarat.
Patel, Thakor and Mevani had thrown a stiff challenge to the BJP by leading agitations over the past few years.
They supported the Congress in the latest elections, reducing the BJP seats to below 100 in the 182-member assembly.