Accusing the BJP of running a “marketing company” to promote “hollow schemes,” Patidar quota stir leader Reshma Patel on Friday tendered her resignation to the saffron party and announced to contest the upcoming elections to the Porbandar Lok Sabha seat and Manavadar Assembly constituency as an Independent if she is not offered any ticket from mainstream political parties.
“I am resigning from the BJP by writing this resignation letter to state president Jitu Vaghani. I have decided to relieve myself from BJP as the party uses its workers and leaders only for marketing its ‘hollow’ schemes. I have also decided to contest the election from Porbandar Parliamentary constituency. I request the Opposition parties to come on one platform, clear their stand about the Porbandar seat. I also propose to fight the seat together. I appeal them to give an opportunity to a woman to contest the election so that the representation of women increases,” Patel told reporters in Rajkot.
She added, “But if that does not happen, in that event, I will contest the Porbandar Parliamentary seat and Manavadar Assembly constituency as an Independent.”
Patel had stepped into the limelight through the ongoing Patidar agitation, demanding the recognition of politically and economically-influential community as Other Backward Classes (OBC), besides the extension of reservations in government jobs and admissions to institutes of higher education. She was a part of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), a group launched by Hardik Patel to run the campaign.
However, as Patel leaned towards the Congress, Reshma had joined the BJP in the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state in 2017. After joining the BJP, she was a part of, what she called a media panel of the saffron party, and participated in debates on TV news channels. She had earlier maintained that there was no case for Patidars to be included on the OBC list.
However, in her resignation letter, the 33-year-old politician termed the BJP a marketing company. “BJP has been reduced to a marketing company which teaches us to deceive the public by assigning the job of salesmen-salespersons and promoting its wrong policies and schemes. The dictatorial attitude of BJP leaders has always managed to suppress workers. I no longer have the patience to tolerate and witness this injustice and therefore, in public interest, I am resigning from the party and refuse to be party to sins being committed by dictator-like leaders,” Reshma wrote in her resignation letter to the state BJP chief Vaghani.
The Porbandar Lok Sabha seat is dominated by Patidar voters. The Manavadar Assembly constituency, which is a segment of Porbandar Parliamentary seat and which is also dominated by Patidars, had fallen vacant after sitting Congress MLA Jawahar Chvda resigned as MLA and quit the party. He has since joined the BJP as Minister of Tourism and Fisheries. The bypoll to the Manavadar seat is due to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha elections.
Downplaying Reshma’s resignation, BJP spokesperson for Saurashtra and Kutch regions, Raju Dhruv, said, “Our state BJP president Vaghani has not reacted to her resignation announced through the media. She says she would courier the resignation. Officially, we do not want to comment on this. In a democracy, everyone has the right to contest the elections from any seat. It is her right and privilege.”
Commenting on Patel’s exit from the BJP, Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “We are aware of the press conference wherein she has announced that she would contest on a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket should that party give her a ticket or else she would contest as an Independent. However, the state and national leadership of Congress decides matters of forming alliances with other parties and the selection of party candidates for contesting the polls.”
Doshi added, “As far as Patel’s resignation is concerned, I will not ask her the reason behind joining the BJP. An individual has the right to join a political party or resign from one. However, the people of Gujarat will be happy to know as to why she was disillusioned with the BJP, what were her terms and conditions for joining the saffron party and how many of them were not fulfilled.”