Patidar leader and working president of Gujarat Congress Hardik Patel on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on his own party, a day after hinting that he would contest the state election due in December. Hardik Patel accused the INC of “ignoring” him.
Recently, the Supreme Court had stayed his conviction in a 2015 case, which came as a big relief to Hardik Patel. Soon after the verdict, he indicated he would contest in the assembly election. Patel tweeted after the verdict, “It is not my aim to contest elections only but to serve the people of Gujarat. Three years ago today, I was sentenced for two years in a false case. Today the Supreme Court has stayed the sentence. I thank the judiciary from the heart.”
Accusing Gujarat Congress of “ignoring” him, Hardik Patel told The Indian Express: “My position in the party is like that of a newly wed groom who had to undergo sterilization.” He also questioned the “delay” by the party in taking a decision on Khodaldham Trust chairman and powerful Patidar leader Naresh Patel. He said it was an insult to the entire community.
It’s pertinent to mention here that almost every party in the state is trying to bring Naresh Patel to its side.
Hardik Patel said, “I am not invited to any meeting of the PCC, they do not consult me before taking any decision, so what is the point of this post? Recently they have appointed 75 new general secretaries and 25 new vice-presidents. Did he even consult me, that Hardikbhai, do you think any strong leader is missing from the list?”
Hardik Patel had led a successful movement against the BJP government in Gujarat before the last assembly election and was inducted into the party by none other than Rahul Gandhi. Hardik Patel was made the state working president of Congress in 2020. A popular young Patidar face, he has earlier expressed his disappointment with not being given a leading role in the party.
Hardik Patel warned the INC that the party had performed well in the 2015 local body and 2017 assembly elections because of the Patidar agitation. The INC had won 77 seats in the 182-member House in 2017. “But what happened after that? Many in the Congress feel that the party did not use Hardik properly,” he said. He said this could be because people felt threatened by him in the party.
On Naresh Patel, Hardik Patel said: “I am seeing on TV that the Congress wants to include Naresh Patel for the 2022 election. I hope they don’t look for a new Patel for 2027 election. Why doesn’t the party use those it already has?”
On Naresh Patel, he said further that the BJP looks “aggressive and ready” when it comes to decisions like induction of leaders. He said, “It has been two months since we talked of Naresh Patel (joining a party), but the Congress has not come to a decision. If you cannot respect a community, you have no right to disrespect it.”
Hardik Patel said: “Recently, a delegation of leaders from Punjab Congress, including their working president, met Sonia Gandhi. Why doesn’t the working president in Gujarat Congress get equal respect?”