Updated: September 6, 2021 5:02:47 pm
Working president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) Hardik Patel has said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) contesting Gujarat elections was part of a “BJP ploy” to draw the anti-BJP votes away from Congress.
Hardik, who has recently returned from a tour to Delhi after he was permitted by the Ahmedabad sessions court to travel, told The Indian Express, “it’s very simple. Whenever the BJP sees the situation to their disadvantage they raise a third front in Gujarat. This happened in 2007 with the Mahagujarat Janata Parishad, the Gujarat Parivartan Party in 2012, or be it NCP or BSP, and now it is AAP”.
Calling AAP the “B team of the BJP”, Patel claimed that while AAP banners were allowed to stay on public display, it was not the same for Congress. “I have a list of evidence to support what I am saying. To begin with, a 10×20-foot banner by AAP is allowed to be displayed in public for two months or more, while Congress ones are pulled down immediately. See the case in Junagadh (where the AAP leaders claimed their rally was attacked), there is no action on that case yet. If it were to involve our (Congress) leaders, there would be summons etc and police would file cases against us”.
On June 30, AAP had claimed that a convoy of its leaders Isudan Gadhvi, Mahesh Savani and Pravin Ram was attacked as it entered Leriya village of Visavadar taluka. AAP leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had then tweeted that he had spoken to his Gujarat counterpart Vijay Rupani, seeking protection for AAP workers in Gujarat.
According to Hardik, the situation in Gujarat was advantageous to Congress in the 2022 assembly elections and the BJP is “trying to prevent voters from voting for Congress”.
He said that Congress had a dedicated 1.5 crore or more voters in Gujarat. Asked if the Patidars were being drawn to AAP and on the seats it took in Surat municipal corporation, Hardik said, “that (Surat) was our mistake. Because we denied tickets to certain candidates. Even today the impact of our agitation remains in the rural areas. And this time if we do not make any mistake, we can win in 2022.
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