‘Thank you, but…’: Ex-Cong leader Hardik Patel stings party, says wasted 3 yrs

Updated on May 19, 2022 01:51 PM IST

Hardik Patel, who joined the Congress in 2019 and was elevated as one of the Gujarat Congress working president in 2020, resigned from the party on Wednesday.

Gujarat: Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel (HT Photo)
Gujarat: Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel (HT Photo)

AHMEDABAD: A day after he resigned from the Congress, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Thursday said he hasn’t decided yet about joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but asked people not to vote for his former party, saying the party never speaks anything on issues concerning Hindus and is “too much into caste-based politics”.

Patel, who issued multiple appeals asking people to vote for the Congress ahead of 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, on Thursday said that people shouldn’t support the grand old party.

The Congress never speaks anything on the issues concerning Hindus, such as the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) or on the issue of a ‘Shivling’ (said to be) found in a mosque in Varanasi. “Moreover, the Gujarat Congress is too much into caste-based politics. I wasted my three years in this party,” Patel said.

Patel, who joined the Congress in 2019 and was elevated as one of the Gujarat Congress working president in 2020, resigned from the party on Wednesday. In a one-page resignation letter, the 28-year-old politician was sharply critical of the Congress and its leaders who he said, did not have a roadmap for the people, were non-serious, and behaved as if they hated Gujarat and Gujaratis.

A BJP leader confirmed that the party had been in talks with Hardik Patel. Congress leaders accused him of preparing to switch to the BJP to get the multiple cases registered against him for the Patidar agitation closed.

Patel, however, insisted that he hadn’t made up his mind.

“I have not taken any decision as of now on joining any political party, be it the BJP or AAP,” the Patel Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader said.

He said he was thankful to Congress for making him the working president for Gujarat. “But what was the use when you are not given any work to perform?” he said.

Jagdish Thakor, Gujarat Congress chief said that the allegations made by Patel were baseless and designed to hurt the Congress. Thakor, while talking to the media persons at Rajkot on Thursday, alleged that Patel was following a script drafted by the BJP. His resignation letter was drafted at Kamalam – the headquarters for BJP in Gujarat, he alleged.

Patel is likely to contest the state elections to be held in December this year. A conviction in a 2015 rioting and arson case related to the Patidar protests, which would have barred him from contesting elections, was stayed by the Supreme Court in April 12.

In 2017, he was 24 and wasn’t eligible to contest the election for which the minimum age is 25.

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