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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hardik Patel shoots resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi: Five takeaways

Hardik Patel had been attacking the Congress’ state leadership accusing them of trying to sabotage his political career whilst always maintaining that Rahul Gandhi is a "nice man."

Written by Vaibhav Jha | Ahmedabad |
Updated: May 18, 2022 3:58:58 pm
Hardik Patel. (Express Archives)

Hardik Patel shot into the limelight with the 2015 Patidar Reservation Agitation and catapulted himself as the Gujarat Congress working president in 2020. After attacking the state Congress leadership for a while, the Patidar leader finally offered his resignation from the party Wednesday, just months ahead of the Gujarat Assembly Elections.

In his resignation letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi, Patel fired many cannons at the Congress attacking the top leadership for “vacationing abroad” while the party was in crisis and also criticising its leaders for weakening the party for their “selfish gains.”

Here are five takeaways from Hardik Patel’s letter to Sonia Gandhi:

1. Dilemma of ‘Virodh versus Vikalp’ (Opposition versus Alternative)

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Hardik Patel criticised the grand old party for having been reduced to “opposing everything” and failing to stand up to the people as an “alternative” to the current ruling dispensation. He claimed in the letter, “Congress today has been rejected in almost every state of India because the party and its leadership have not been able to present a basic roadmap to the people.” He also said, “I strongly believe that Congress has broken the faith youth had in the party for many years and that is why today no youngster is willing to be even seen as our worker or voter.”

2) Jab at Rahul Gandhi with ‘foreign vacation’, ‘chicken sandwich’ references

Hardik Patel had been attacking the Congress’ state leadership accusing them of trying to sabotage his political career whilst always maintaining that Rahul Gandhi is a “nice man.” However, in his letter on Wednesday, Patel also hit out at the “top leadership” of Congress accusing them of being engrossed in “trivial matters”, while ignoring the crisis the party was facing.

“Lack of seriousness about all issues is a major problem with the Congress party’s senior leadership. Whenever I met with the senior leadership, I always felt that leaders were not really interested in hearing about problems concerning the people of Gujarat but were more engrossed on what messages they had received on their mobiles and other trivial things. Whenever our country faced challenges and when Congress needed leadership, Congress leaders were enjoying abroad… It is unfortunate that workers like us who travel 500-600 kilometres in our cars in a single day to meet people, get to see those big leaders of Congress are far away from the issues of Gujarat but are more focussed on ensuring that chicken sandwich for leaders who have come from Delhi is delivered on time,” wrote Hardik Patel.

3) Praises PM Modi, refers to Ram Mandir, Article 370 and GST

Patel, whilst criticising Congress, showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling the verdict on Ram Temple, scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) as “solutions that the people of India wanted for a long time.”

“India wanted solutions for these subjects for a long time and Congress only played the role of a roadblock and was always only obstructive. When it came to issues related to India, Gujarat and my Patidar community, Congress’ only stand was to oppose whatever the government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modiji did!” said Hardik Patel.

Recently, Hardik Patel claimed that he is a “proud Hindu”.

4) Uses BJP plank of accusing Congress of hating Gujarat, Gujaratis

While campaigning during the 2017 Gujarat Assembly Election in Gandhinagar, PM Modi had hit out at the Gandhi family, accusing them of “hating Gujarat and Gujaratis” and treating them as “irritants in the eye”. Hardik Patel used the same phrase to launch an attack on the state leadership, especially emphasising that his community is being allegedly “ridiculed”.

“Senior leaders behave in a way like they hate Gujarat and Gujaratis. How in the world can Congress then expect that the people of Gujarat will see them as an alternative to lead our state?… Whenever I went among the youth I was always asked why I was in a party which constantly insulted Gujaratis – be it in the business sector, in matters of religion and even in politics. Gujaratis can never forget how the Congress party has insulted Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. I strongly believe that Congress has broken the faith youth had in the party for many years and that is why today no youngster is willing to be even seen as our worker or voter…Even when people like me wanted to do something good for the state, I and my community were faced with ridicule and contempt. When I joined the Congress, I did not know that the hearts and minds of the leadership of the Congress are filled with such hatred towards our country, towards my community, and especially towards the youth,” said Patel.

5) ‘Sell-out by our leaders’

For the past year, Hardik Patel has been criticising the state Congress leadership under former president Amit Chavda and current president Jagdish Thakor accusing them of sabotaging his prospects.

Even in the letter on Wednesday, Patel said, “You would be well aware of how leaders of Gujarat Congress have weakened the party, diluted many issues of public importance – all for humongous personal financial gains. Political thoughts can be different but this kind of sell-out by our leaders for so many years is a betrayal of the people of Gujarat. Everyone who is active in political and social life must keep working for the people but it’s almost like Congress doesn’t want to do anything good for Gujarat.”

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