New Delhi: Finally it was the rainbow coalition engineered by the Congress that included Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani, which dented the saffron citadel.
That the Congress could not have managed to increase its tally otherwise is evident by the losses suffered by its local state leadership which includes heavyweights such as Arjun Modhwadia, Shaktisingh Gohil and Siddharth Patel.
Another take away from this election was the emergence of Hardik Patel as a leader to reckon with. Sources have told this newspaper that the Congress organisation was in shambles when its central leadership landed in Gujarat four months ago to begin the campaign.
It was the organisational abilities of this trio that helped it fight the polls on an equal platform with the ruling BJP.
While Mr Mevani, who rose as a Dalit activist in the aftermath of the flogging of Dalits in Una, mobilised the votes of his community, he also made his foray into the Gujarat Assembly fighting as an independent candidate from Vadgam with Congress support.
Alpesh Thakore, another activist, who rose to fame with his campaign against illicit liquor in his Thakore community, joined the Congress just days before the poll and Congress sources say that influenced at least 80 seats, and forced the BJP to turn to another OBC community, the Kolis, to help them out. Mr Thakore contested from Radhanpur constituency and won.
Though his Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) failed to make an electoral impact as is evident from the BJP winning Mehsana and Surat, it was his mass mobilisation and impact on the youth that created the so-called wave against the incumbent party. The BJP had to concentrate its energies on containing the Patel leader....