Highlights

  • Mevani led protest against flogging of Dalits in Una
  • He won the Vadgam Assembly seat in Gujarat in 2017 as an independent
  • Mevani has now joined Congress

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Jignesh Mevani: face of Dalit movement in Gujarat

The young Dalit leader has not formally joined Congress but has expressed support for the party. 

Lawyer, activist, Face of Dalit movement in Gujarat, independent MLA...

Jignesh Mevani wears many hats.

The young lawyer and activist made headlines after he spearheaded a campaign in support of the rights of Dalits after the Una Dalit flogging incident in 2016, where cow vigilantes had tortured four people for allegedly skinning a dead cow.

Mevani led a Dalit Asmita Yatra from Ahmedabad to Una which culminated on August 15, 2016 with a massive gathering of over 50,000 people.

There was a vacuum of a credible Dalit leader in the state. Jignesh filled that space. Not too many people know that his own father skinned dead animals in his past..

The English Literature and Law graduate also worked with Jan Sangharsh Manch founded by Late Dr Mukul Sinha for justice and rights of the underprivileged. He was also part of the fight for regularisation of contract safai workers in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation. He also fought for the rights of Gujarat Industrial Security Forces (GISF) jawans.

The Dalit leader, from the beginning, found an ideological coherence with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi...He had met Rahul before the last Gujarat polls with his wishlist for the party's manifesto. He later said that Rahul included 90% of his suggestions.

A vocal critic of the BJP, Mevani contested and won the Vadgam Assembly seat in Gujarat in 2017 as an independent, defeating the BJP candidate by a margin to close to 20,000 votes.

As a part of an agreement with Mevani, the Congress asked its sitting MLA Manibhai Vaghela to not contest from Vadgam, which pitted Mevani in a direct contest with BJP’s Vijay Chakravarthi and helped him win...

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