'Was in Congress. I know...': BJP's Hardik Patel takes swipe at former party
Gujarat election: Prime minister Narendra Modi's home state votes for a new government in two phases on December 1 and December 5, with results due on December 8.
Hardik Patel - who quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in June - said Friday he is 'confident (the) people of Viramgam' will vote for him and that his new political masters will win 150+ seats in next month's election.
The ruling BJP has fielded the fiery 29-year-old Patidar leader from a seat the Congress won in 2012 and 2017, amid hopes it can reclaim the constituency in Ahmedabad district. Patel is the second successive ex-Congress candidate nominated by the BJP to do so; in 2017 the BJP fielded Tejashree Patel, who won Viramgam for the Congress five years earlier. He failed to win it for the BJP.
"I'll work to shoulder responsibility given by BJP. Effort will be to win Viramgam by taking everyone together... confident people will make me win," he said.
Patel attacked both his former party and Aam Aadmi Party - seen by some as more of a threat to the BJP - accusing both of being 'against Gujarat's culture'.
"Be it AAP or Congress... they have been against Gujarat's culture and pride. Seven crore people of Gujarat (are) never going to like them," Patel declared.
The former Congress leader also mocked the AAP over its offer of free electricity - a party standard ahead of any election and one now copied by the BJP.
"They say they will provide free electricity (but) every Gujarati provides free electricity to the government. Every house has a solar panel!"
Patel also took aim at the Congress for having 'insulted Gujaratis all the time'.
"People of Gujarat don't want to listen to Congress... I was once in Congress... I know. The Congress insulted Gujaratis... questioned the state's pride..."
He claimed Viramgam 'will feel I am young... will work for them' and vowed 'development' and implementation of prime minister Narendra Modi's policies.
"The manner in which we have worked for the people here in the last five months through social work... they feel I am young and will work for them."
"I will work to turn the 10-year long drought of development into greenery and implement PM Modi's policies," he said.
Patel declared Viramgam 'would want to accept me', and said, "I've always achieved success by taking the difficult route. Congress may have been on this seat for 10 years but this is my 'janmbhoomi', 'karmbhoomi' and 'matrabhoomi'."
Gujarat votes for a new government in two phases on December 1 and December 5, with results due on December 8.
The BJP is widely expected to retain control in the prime minister's home state - where it has been in power for nearly three decades.
Pre-poll surveys suggest an easy win, with over 50 per cent saying they intend to vote for the BJP. Less than 17 per cent plan to vote for the Congress.