MeraNews Network, Ahmedabad: Patidar leaders Reshma Patel and Varun Patel joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after meeting the party’s national president Amit Shah in Ahmedabad on Saturday, a news agency reported, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) declared its first list of 11 candidates for the Gujarat assembly elections.

Hardik Patel, convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), took to Twitter in response to the Patidar leaders joining the BJP, posting: “Despite losing its legs, a centipede can still run. The people are on my side. I will keep fighting as long as the people are on my side.”

Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor, meanwhile, said he will join the Congress after meeting the party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, the ANI news agency reported. Gandhi will join Thakor at a rally in Ahmedabad on Monday, the news agency quoted the OBC SC ST Ekta Manch leader as saying.

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bharatsinh Solanki, at a press conference earlier in the day, had said his party was ready to offer tickets to Thakor, Hardik Patel, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Chhotubhai Vasava, the sole Janata Dal (United) member of the state legislative assembly (MLA), with the intention of forming an alliance to contest the state elections.

Hardik Patel turned down the invitation, posting on Twitter: “I don’t want to contest elections. We want our rights and justice, and we are fighting against arrogance. We will win.”

Gujarat will go to the polls before 18 December, chief election commissioner A.K. Joti said last week while announcing the dates for the assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh.