“Find A Way So That I Remain”: Hardik Patel’s Message To Congress


Hardik Patel, face of the Patidar agitation, joined Congress before 2017 Gujarat polls. File

Gandhinagar:

Following remarks accusing a section of Gujarat Congress leaders of harassment, Hardik Patel, working president of the state party unit, has urged the high command to find a way to ensure he remains with the Congress.

In his latest outburst, Mr Patel has said there are people who want him to leave the Congress and break his morale. “I am in Congress currently. I hope the central leaders find a way so that I continue to re-main in the Congress. There are others who want Hardik to leave the Congress. They want to break my morale,” he tweeted today while sharing the clipping of an interview to The New Indian Express.

The young leader, who was the face of the agitation by the Patidar community for reservation and later went on to join the Congress, has been sulking for a while and sending worrying signals to the party leadership.

With the Assembly polls in Gujarat – a stronghold of the BJP and turf of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – months away, Mr Patel’s resentment could spell trouble for the Congress.

Earlier this month, Mr Patel, who was inducted into the party by Rahul Gandhi just before the 2017 state polls, accused the leadership of sidelining him.

He said he is not invited to any meeting of the state Congress unit and he is never consulted before decisions. “My position in the party is that of a new groom who has been made to undergo nasbandi (vasectomy),” he said.

Mr Patel said the Patidar agitation helped the Congress win a significant number of seats in the 2015 elections to local bodies and the 2017 Gujarat polls, when the party won 77 seats in the 182-member assembly.

“But what happened after that? Many in Congress also feel that Hardik Patel was not properly utilised by the party after 2017. It may be because some people in the party would think that I would come in their way after five or 10 years if I am given significance today,” he said.

A week later, he set off a buzz in political circles by remarks in which he appeared to be praising the BJP, the Congress’s chief rival and the ruling party in Gujarat.

“The recent decisions that BJP has taken politically, we have to accept that they have the strength to take such steps. I believe that without even taking their side or praising them, we can at least acknowledge the truth. If the Congress wants to become strong in Gujarat, then we have to improve our decision-making skills and decision-making power,” Mr Patel told NDTV.

However, he insisted he had no plans to join the BJP. “No, there are no talks. I am not thinking of the BJP and I am not talking to the BJP,” he said.

Trashing the speculation, he also said, “People will say a lot of things. When Joe Biden won the US elections, I praised him. This is because his vice president is of Indian origin. But does this mean I will join Biden’s party?”

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