Jignesh Mevani is entrance and centre at Rahul’s rally for tribals in Gujarat

There have been many messages emanating from the launch of an ‘Adivasi Satyagraha’ rally by the Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi, right here Tuesday. That tribals, historically Congress supporters, would have an enormous position within the social gathering’s plans for Gujarat. That it’s hoping to make it a bankable mixture of tribals and Dalits. And that Jignesh Mevani – whose arrest at midnight, switch to a distant Assam jail, and subsequent bail by court docket with strictures towards police might have given him simply the pre-poll enhance he wanted – is ready to be the Congress’s man of the second.

There was yet another message: that the opposite younger Congress face of Gujarat, Hardik Patel, was more and more remoted inside the social gathering, at the same time as he see-saws between anger and conciliation and retains his choices open.

The irony is that it was Hardik who satisfied a reluctant Mevani to declare his affiliation with the Congress in September final yr.

Rahul didn’t simply have Mevani, the Independent MLA from Vadgam in North Gujarat, by his facet on the dais, with the 2 in frequent dialog, but additionally launched a ‘Satyagraha letter’, to be distributed amongst social gathering leaders, collectively with him. Earlier, Mevani was additionally a part of the assembly Rahul held with elected Congress MLAs.

After his bail from Assam Police custody, the Congress had allowed using its Delhi headquarters as a venue for Mevani’s press convention, although he’s formally not nonetheless a celebration member.

On Tuesday, Mevani addressed the gang earlier than Rahul, and in a well-received speech, exhorted Adivasis to struggle for his or her rights, and to query the BJP authorities’s re-definition of them as “Vanbandhu or Vanvasi”. This is seen as a reference to the RSS’s Vanvasi Kalyan Ashrams for tribal areas. Narendra Modi because the Gujarat Chief Minister had launched a scheme known as Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for tribals,

If the Congress is betting that the favored Dalit chief, educated, a superb orator and aggressive, will maintain the identical enchantment for the marginalised tribals as his neighborhood, the Dahod rally would have given it hope. There was a lot curiosity among the many youths within the crowd to catch a glimpse of Mevani, who has himself at all times claimed to symbolize the voices of not simply Dalits but additionally tribals, minorities and the working class – a constituency the Congress must faucet into.

A villager, who may solely see what was happening the dais by way of an LED display, mentioned it was good that Mevani and Rahul shared the stage. “If good leaders are joining the Congress, who are fearless and will not back down from raising issues of the poor, it is welcome… Mevani has a strong voice.”

The Vadgam MLA struck a chord speaking about migration from the world, “lacking education and opportunities”, to work as labourers in different components of the state and nation. He pointed to the irony within the authorities speaking concurrently of a Dahod Smart City venture. He accused the BJP authorities and RSS of going after dissenting voices from marginalised communities, resembling OBCs, Dalits and tribals, below “false” instances, “as they did to me”. “Very soon, they will have to withdraw these cases… The irony is that it is the tribals of Dahod who are present in the foundations of the big city projects. Be it bridges or malls, you are the builders.”

Rahul, who addressed the rally about an hour later, spoke on nearly the identical strains. “When infrastructure projects are built, it is the tribals who lay every brick… But you don’t get anything in return — neither education, not healthcare, nor land or water which you own,” he mentioned.

He urged youths to take inspiration from Mevani, turning round to have a look at the Dalit chief to make his level. As the gang applauded, Rahul mentioned: “They gave him (Mevani) three months’ jail for protesting without permission (he is on bail). But even if they give him ten years in prison, he won’t change. I know him.”

Hardik, who additionally sat within the entrance row, gave a quick speech earlier than Mevani. Rahul greeted Hardik and stopped to greet and speak to Mevani. Later, Mevani moved from a chair additional away to at least one proper behind Rahul, and the 2 stored speaking by way of the occasion. Among the senior leaders, Rajya Sabha MP Shaktisinh Gohil hugged Hardik.

Later, Hardik, collectively with Rahul, launched the social gathering’s cell app for the Satyagraha for registerting tribal households and analysing information for ballot marketing campaign.

A senior chief mentioned, “In the coming weeks, there will be a serious shift of dynamics on the ground. As we see it, the polarisation of voters is on the cards, and so it is important to align with faces and voices that a majority of the people identify with.”

The chief added that Rahul was eager to fulfill Mevani. “He has ideas and opinions and the fact that he has been invited to this meeting in Dahod is an indication that Rahulji does not want to wait till the last minute to associate with Mevani. He may join the party later officially but his presence at Congress events will be more common, in order to make the transition smooth whenever it happens.”

A veteran Congress chief, nonetheless, performed down studying an excessive amount of into the optics. “Today certainly Mevani got a lift from Rahulji, but that should not mean others are not important to him.”

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