Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel on Monday dismissed rumours of joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while stating that his displeasure was with the state party leadership.
Addressing speculations of his likely switch to the saffron party, Patel was quoted by ANI saying, “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?”
Patel, who is the state Congress working president, praised the BJP while expressing displeasure with the Congress leadership, raising concerns over his likely switch camp to BJP ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections in December. Clarifying his statement, Patel said in politics, rival parties’ “good quality” and “bold decisions” require a similar response. “If you waste your time, then people will leave you. There are many young people who want to work for the party. I openly wish that such youngsters should get an opportunity”, he said.
The prominent Patidar leader however said he was not upset with party leaders Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi but was raising concerns over the state party leadership ahead of the upcoming polls. “I am not upset with Rahul Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi. I am upset with the state leadership. Why am I upset? Elections are coming up and in such times work should be done together with honest and strong people. They should be given positions.”
He called for opportunities for those working at the rural level to strengthen the party. Just like in a family resolving displeasure after holding talks, he urged people not to spread rumours.
Hardik Patel, who led an agitation of the powerful “Patidar” community for quota in Gujarat in 2015 played a key role in helping Congress win a significant number of seats in the elections to local bodies in 2015 and the 2017 Assembly polls when the opposition party had won 77 constituents in the 182-member House.
Last week, Patel questioned the Congress leadership over the “delay” in inducting popular Patidar leader Naresh Patel into the party fold. “The kind of talks which are doing rounds regarding the induction of Naresh Patel in Congress is insulting for the entire community. It’s been over two months now. Why has no decision been taken yet? Congress high command or local leadership should take a quick decision about Naresh Patel’s induction,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)