Jignesh Mevani meets Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat

PM Modi with BJP chief Amit Shah

Gandhinagar: Dalit youth leader Jignesh Mewani on Thursday said he won't join any political party but wanted the "arrogant BJP government" ousted in Gujarat.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who is now on an election campaign tour of south Gujarat met state Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and discussed the demands of the dalit community on Friday evening. "If the response is positive, we will definitely support Congress". "I want to make it clear that neither have I joined the Congress nor am I going to join the party in the future".

"I met Rahul Ji".

"We have a charter of 17 demands for justice and Rahulji has agreed to implement majority if the Congress comes to power", said Mevani, a lawyer fighting land rights cases of Dalits.

The 34-year-old, a lawyer by training, came under the spotlight after four Dalit youth were stripped and flogged by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead bovine last year.

Mevani claimed it was heartening that the Congress leader had a dialogue. In the past year, Mevani has emerged as someone whom political parties can not afford to ignore, particularly ahead of the assembly elections. "With Gujarat assembly polls scheduled on December 9 and 14, both BJP and Congress are going all out to win new blocks of voters".

"(Rahul) Gandhi said our demands are not demands but constitutional rights.

Jignesh Mevani did not say if he will campaign for the Congress, only stating, "we will do anything that is needed to keep the BJP from returning to power", accusing the ruling party of being "thick-skinned and anti-Dalit". "In the meeting that we had with home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja after Dalits threatened a rail roko agitation, he said he will look into the demands".

Mevani, other backward caste leader Alpesh Thakor, and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel are being seen as game changers in the upcoming state polls. We will listen to the Mann ki Baat of Gujarat and will include it in the agenda of the government the Congress will form in Gujarat", Mr Gandhi said, also adding, "every section of the society is protesting. The equation changed after Thakor joined the Congress with his supporters and reports emerged of a secret meeting between Hardik Patel and Congress leaders.

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