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Jignesh Mevani Won’t Contest LS Polls, But Will Campaign for Kanhaiya, Hardik to ‘Ensure Modi's Defeat’

Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani said he will be campaigning massively against the Narendra Modi government to ensure he does not get a second term.


Updated:March 15, 2019, 6:30 PM IST
Jignesh Mevani Won’t Contest LS Polls, But Will Campaign for Kanhaiya, Hardik to ‘Ensure Modi's Defeat’
File photo of Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani.

Ahmedabad: Putting an end to speculation, firebrand Dalit leader and Independent MLA from Vadgam constituency in Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, om Friday said that he will not be contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He, however, told News18 that he will be campaigning massively against the Narendra Modi government across the country to ensure that he does not get a second term.

“I have been campaigning against the Modi government since the last 14 months across the length and breadth of the country, and will continue to do so. I will campaign for Kanhaiya Kumar and actor Prakash Raj in their respective constituencies. I will also campaign for Hardik Patel, if he plans to contest the polls,’’ Mevani said.

Hardik Patel recently joined the Congress in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi in Ahmedabad.

Asked about his take on Patel’s decision, Mevani said the Patidar leader has played an important role in politicising the youth of Gujarat. “Patel exposed the so called ‘Gujarat Model’. His entry into the Congress will help attract youngsters towards politics and the party will benefit from it,’’ he said.

About Priyanka Gandhi’s recent meeting with Bhim Army chief leader Chandrashekhar Azad in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh, Mevani said, “It’s a good gesture from Priyanka Gandhi and politically important in UP politics as well.”

The lawyer-turned-politician’s anti-Modi rhetoric has found many takers in the country. He had attended a massive United India rally in Kolkata in January which had seen 22 political parties in attendance on a common platform against PM Modi.

The BJP has, however, dismissed the mahagathbandhan as an anti-Modi camp that has no agenda.

Mevani has a different take on the allegations of grand alliance having no agenda. “I have serious ideological issues on more than one account with the political components of the grand alliance, but the fact is, any of these forces can electorally defeat the BJP which activists alone can’t do, and the role of the civil society is extremely important even for their survival,” he said.

While tension is running high between mahagathbandhan and Congress in politically crucial UP, Mevani is certain that “the Congress and SP- BSP will come out with a win-win situation in the seat sharing formula and will not let BJP gain from it.”

Mevani emerged as a leader after he had given a clarion call to abandon skinning dead cattle, following the Una incident on 2016 when four Dalits were flogged by cow vigilantes for skinning a dead cow. The incident sparked nationwide outrage and brought the activist-lawyer into the limelight.

Mevani comes from a politically insignificant electorate bloc in Gujarat, which has only seven percent Dalit population and that too is scattered. But observers say his pragmatic approach and ideological certitude helped him cement his place in the national political arena.

In the last 14 months, eight FIRs have been lodged against him in various states, including Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Mevani, 39, according to Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) report, is the poorest MLA in Gujarat’s 182 member assembly. His assets value at Rs 10.50 lakh.

He told News 18 that his travel schedule is so hectic that he has spent barely 50 days with his family in the last 14 months, having visited as many as 24 states. “I feel that the constitution is under danger and the law for 10 percent reservation for economically poor brought by Modi government is the first step towards distorting core value of the Constitution,’’ he asserted.

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