Updated: May 25, 2022 11:56:59 am
Days after resigning from the Congress in Gujarat, Patidar leader Hardik Patel told The Indian Express on Tuesday that he would play an “important role” in the Assembly elections later this year which, he said, would be “one-sided” in favour of the BJP.
Asked if he was considering BJP as an option, Hardik said: “Why shouldn’t it be?”
Responding to another question on whether there was an offer from the BJP, the 28-year-old former Congress working president said: “Offers and bargains are for weak people. Strong people create a space for themselves.” (Read the full interview)
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Indicating that he was keeping all options open, Hardik also praised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for having a “better” electoral strategy than the Congress. While claiming he was not “clear if he would join” AAP, he said that “in the upcoming elections, I don’t see the Congress anywhere”.
According to him, the Gujarat elections will “not be interesting as it will be one-sided” but he would “play a better role” than in 2017.
Hardik was inducted into the Congress in 2019 and appointed working president of the state unit in 2020. On May 18, he posted his resignation letter on Twitter, saying the party’s top leaders seemed more interested in “messages they had received on their mobile (phones)” — and behaved as if “they hate Gujarat and Gujaratis” while state leaders were “more focussed” in arranging chicken sandwiches for them.
In the letter addressed to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Hardik also took a swipe at Rahul Gandhi without naming him: “Whenever our country faced challenges and when the Congress needed leadership, Congress leaders were enjoying abroad.”
On Tuesday, asked if the over 200 cases filed against Patidars would come in the way of his joining the BJP, Hardik said the issue “would not be done in one go”. Of the 246 pending cases, 23 have Hardik as an accused, of which two are under the sedition law.
“We agitated against the people in power, and the people in power, to stay in power, did whatever they did against us. And we did what we could to take the agitation to its logical end. This very government gave the 10 per cent reservation and the MYSY (Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavalamban Yojana). My point is that we fought against the government, and it is the government only that has fulfilled the demands…,” he said.
According to Hardik, the “anger” that was seen in the elections of 2015 and 2017 was “gone” by the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when the Congress failed to win a seat.
Ahead of the last assembly elections in 2017, Hardik had campaigned against the BJP across the state, with the backing of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the front he had launched for the quota agitation.
Asked if the attention Rahul gave to independent MLA Jignesh Mevani at the May 10 Dahod rally upset him, Hardik said: “Obviously. Why not? I have been in jail for 10 months, six months in exile from Gujarat, I was facing 32 cases. You have started the politics of caste, isn’t it ? You can see a person who was convicted for three months in a case under section 188, and you can see a person who went to jail for nine days…but you could not see my pain?”
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