The AAP today said it will not field any candidate against Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who is contesting election from the Vadgam Assembly constituency in Gujarat as an Independent with the Congress’s support. The Vadgam seat in Banaskantha district is reserved for scheduled castes.
“The AAP has decided not to field any candidate from Vadgam from where Dalit protest leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting as an Independent candidate. “Looking at the appeal made by him, the party believes that the contest should be between the BJP and Jignesh Mevani,” the party said in a statement. The Congress has supported Mevani’s candidature and asked its sitting MLA Manibhai Vaghela not to contest from the seat as part of an agreement reached with the Dalit leader.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal extended best wishes to the 34-year-old Dalit activist. “Best wishes, Jignesh,” Kejriwal today wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.
Mevani had also taken to Twitter to announce his candidature. He wrote, “Friends, I’m contesting from Vadgam-11 seat of Banaskantha district of Gujarat as an independent candidate. We shall fight, we shall win.”
“All political parties opposed to the BJP are saying that Jignesh Mevani is a symbol of struggle against the ruling BJP, and they believe the contest should be between these two people only.
“We have appealed to all political parties to support me,” Mevani told reporters.
The AAP has so far announced candidates for over 30 assembly seats in Gujarat. The Delhi-headquartered party has maintained its contest is with the ruling BJP.