Hardik Patel denies talk of leaving Congress, says, 'will be small fights'

By | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan
Apr 15, 2022 12:24 PM IST

Hardik Patel said he had taken up the issue of his 'harassment' with Rahul Gandhi but no action has been taken so far.

Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel has refused rumours he plans to leave the party just months before the assembly election. "There is a rumour that I am leaving Congress, I do not know who is spreading so," Patel, who joined the Congress in March 2019, said at an event in Surat on Thursday. "I have given my 100 per cent to Congress till now, and will give the same in the coming days. There will be small fights and blame games within the party, but we have to work together to make Gujarat a better place," he was quoted by ANI.

Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel(HT_PRINT)
Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel(HT_PRINT)

However, Patel also struck a warning note, saying: "If speaking truth is a crime, consider me guilty. The people of Gujarat have expectations from us, we have to stand up to them."

The apparent about-turn comes after two days of slamming Congress leaders in the state for harassing and ignoring him in the run-up to the election.

READ: Congress' Hardik Patel hits out at his party months before Gujarat polls

Patel, who spearheaded the Patidar community's campaign for OBC reservation, pointed out the Congress benefitted to win some seats in local polls in 2015 and the 2017 assembly election but then failed to recognise his worth.

The Congress won 77 seats in the 182-member Gujarat assembly in 2017, an increase of 16 from the 2012 election. It also gained in the 2015 local polls, but seemed to lose support in the 2019 Lok Sabha election as it has in others since.

"But what happened after that? Many in Congress also feel Hardik was not properly utilised 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 claimed on Wednesday.

"I am being harassed so much that I feel bad about it. Gujarat Congress leaders want that I should leave the party," Patel told PTI Bhasha in a telephonic interview on Thursday.

READ: Facing harassment from party men, they want me to leave Congress: Hardik Patel

Patel also said that though he had taken up the issue of his 'harassment' with senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi many times, no action has been taken so far to address his grievances.

"I am more pained because I have represented the situation to Rahul Gandhi many times, but no action has been taken by him against Gujarat Congress leaders," he told PTI.

The Congress’s plan to rope in Naresh Patel, another prominent Patidar face, ahead of the 2022 Gujarat election has also angered Hardik.

"You used Hardik in 2017, you want to use Naresh bhai in 2022 and in 2027 you would use another Patidar leader. Why don’t you support and strengthen Hardik?" he said to PTI.

Patel's disgruntled comments came a day after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in a 2015 case. This allows him to participate in the December election - something he hinted at earlier this week.

“We have seen statements given by Patel in the media. We will call him and discuss the whole matter. We will try to understand what the issues are. Only after that, will we be able to speak further,” state Congress chief Jagdish Thakor had said on Wednesday.

With input from ANI, PTI

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