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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday called up Patidar leader Hardik Patel and congratulated him for his "tremendous work" in the Gujarat Assembly election, the results of which were announced yesterday. "He (Patel) has done so well (in the Gujarat election) at a young age.
I called him up to congratulate him for the feat," she told reporters at the state secretariat here. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said she would also call up the young Dalit leader of Gujarat Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakor for their "positive show" in the polls. Patel, Mevani and Thakor had thrown up a tough challenge to the ruling BJP in the Gujarat polls. While Thakor won on a Congress ticket and Mevani as an Independent, 24-year-old Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had backed the Congress candidates. Banerjee had yesterday said the Gujarat poll outcome was a moral defeat for the BJP and that the people of the state had "belled the cat for 2019". She had congratulated the people of Gujarat for their "very balanced verdict" and said it was a face-saving win for the BJP. The TMC chief, who has often been strident in her criticism of the BJP, had recently hailed Congress president Rahul Gandhi for "putting the BJP on the backfoot". The BJP fought off a strong challenge from Congress to win the Gujarat Assembly polls for the sixth successive time yesterday and also wrested power from the Congress in Himachal Pradesh with a close to two-thirds majority.