A day after he quit the Congress, former Gujarat party leader Hardik Patel said he had ‘wasted his time’ in the party. Patel called Congress the ‘biggest casteist party’ and said he had not decided yet which party to join in the future, but would announce once he made the decision.
In his resignation letter, Hardik Patel had alleged that the Congress has no interest in Gujarat, just opposed policies and programmes, never becoming an option to the ruling party that people are looking for.
He had further alleged that even after several efforts, the party failed to act in national interest and for the society. The Congress was obstacle on issues like article 370, CAA-NRC and implementation of the GST. These were people’s aspirations and the need of the hour for which the Congress should have played a positive role, but it did not, Patel had said. The former Congress leader on Thursday reiterated his charges, and said the party had never done ‘solution politics’ only ‘opposition politics’.
“In Gujarat, whether it’s the Patidar community or any other community, they have had to suffer in Congress. Speak the truth in Congress and big leaders will defame you and that is their strategy,” Patel said.
The leader said seven to eight people “have been running the Congress for 33 years”. According to Patel, activists like him travelled 500-600 km daily but if he went among the people and tried to know their situation, big leaders attempted to disrupt this effort by “sitting in the AC chambers”.
He also alleged that there discussions within the party that people would vote for Congress when they got bored. “I had spoken to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi and mentioned Gujarat’s problems. He asked me and I told him. That’s when I was ignored. I decided to leave the party not with sadness but courage,” he said.
Congress Defends Itself, Blames BJP
Soon after Hardik Patel quit the Congress on Wednesday, the opposition party alleged that the BJP has “lured” the Patidar leader by promising to get cases against him withdrawn and has “scripted” his resignation letter.
Congress leader and party spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil also launched a scathing attack on Patel, calling him “dishonest” and an “opportunist”, and claimed that youth leaders who have switched to the BJP have been reduced to “zero”. Patel, who gained prominence in 2015 after he led the agitation seeking reservation for the Patidar community and was made the Gujarat Congress working president in July 2020, has accused its top leadership of behaving as if they hated Gujarat and Gujaratis.
In his resignation letter, he was also critical of the Congress’ stance on the Ram temple in Ayodhya, revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and the implementation of GST.
“Hardik Patel has not written anything and his resignation letter has clearly been dictated by the BJP… the pen and the face are ours and the script is that of the BJP. It (resignation letter)is completely bogus and has no truth in it,” Gohil told reporters.
The development has come as a jolt to the Congress which is seeking to dislodge the BJP from power in Gujarat where assembly elections are due in the next few months. Gohil said the Congress gave opportunities to youth leader Hardik Patel and made him the working president of the Gujarat Congress, but he was lured by the BJP.
“The BJP has got Hardik Patel to resign by using all means, including getting a CD on him, and used agencies like Enforcement Directorate and CBI and used all measures that were below the belt,” he alleged. “There are cases of sedition, rioting and many others and he can’t contest elections,” he said and claimed the BJP government has approached the High Court to take back the cases against him. “Since then this plot was clear that Hardik Patel is moving with the BJP to get cases against him withdrawn,” he said.