Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Monday announced he will contest the Gujarat Assembly elections as independent candidate from Vadgam constituency in Banaskantha district.
The Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch leader, social activist and lawyer made the announcement on his Twitter handle, hours after the opposition Congress declared its third list of 76 candidates, which failed to show candidature for Vadgam.
Mevani had earlier shown disinterest in contesting the elections and had expressed support for the Congress.
His announcement came after the Congress brought out its third list of candidates for the second phase of Gujarat Assembly elections. In a tweet, he said: “Friends, I’m contesting from Vadgam-11 seat of Banaskantha district of Gujarat as an independent candidate. We shall fight, we shall win.”
The Congress in its third list failed to show any candidature for Vadgam constituency, which will be contested on December 14.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal congratulated Mevani and expressed his best wishes to the young activist.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in an official statement said, “When the Dalit agitation leader Jignesh Mevani is contesting the Vadgam seat as an independent, the AAP won’t be fielding any contestant for the seat and as appealed by him, the party believes that it should be a straight fight between him and the BJP.”
Mevani will file his nomination papers on Monday, the last day for filing nominations for the second phase of the elections.
The young Dalit leader had made the headlines after he led the Dalit pride march from Ahmedabad to Una to protest the thrashing of Dalit skinners from Saurashtra region who were attacked by cow vigilantes last year.
Earlier, he had expressed his wish not to join any political party or contest. He had also met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and announced his support for the grand old party.