Hardik Patel’s former aide Chirag Patel to float party, contest Gujarat polls
Quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s former aide Chirag Patel on Thursday said he will float a political party and contest the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year.
In August last year, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had suspended Chirag and another key leader Ketan Patel from the samiti after they alleged that Hardik used the agitation as a tool to satisfy his personal ambitions and became a “crorepati” within one year of the movement.
Now, Chirag has announced to form a political party “to provide a better political alternative to BJP and Congress,” and achieve the goal of getting reservation for the Patel community under the OBC quota.
He alleged that both the parties are “shying away from taking up the issues concerning the Patel community.”
The Assembly polls in Gujarat are expected to be held later this year.
According to Chirag, forming a political party is the only way to achieve the goal of getting reservation for the Patel community as well as to provide a solution to many other problems being faced by youth, women and farmers in the state.
“Since some time, I have been holding meetings with people in different parts of the state. I realised that people are equally disappointed with the BJP and the Congress,” Chirag said.
“Thus, I have decided to float a new party to give a better alternative,” he told PTI.
“There are total 44 Patel MLAs from both the parties in the Assembly. However, none of them have ever raised the issue of reservation,” he said.
“Thus, I firmly believe that the community needs to elect those MLAs who take up this issue in the Assembly and compel the government to start the process of providing reservation to Patels,” Chirag said.
Claiming that several people have expressed the willingness to join the proposed political party, he said its name will be declared once the Election Commission gives its nod.
“I am waiting for the Election Commission to finalise a name for my party from the list I have submitted,” he said.
“I have not taken any decision yet on the number of seats on which my party would field candidates in the Assembly polls,” Chirag said.
In the past, Hardik had said on many occasions that he does not have any political ambitions and would neither float a party nor will contest the polls.
To this Chirag said, “I am not against anyone’s ideology. But, I believe that political strength is the only way to achieve our goals. Otherwise, the agitation would go on and on without any concrete outcome.”
Chirag and Ketan were behind bars for almost eight months with Hardik as they are co-accused in the sedition case filed by Ahmedabad police for large-scale violence in Gujarat after their mega rally here on August 25, 2015.
However, after they were sidelined by Hardik in August last year, the duo accused him of making money in the garb of leading the agitation.
The duo also raised their objection over the alleged “dictatorial” approach of Hardik, through an open letter.
Later, PAAS suspended the duo from the quota body, saying they had levelled baseless allegations against Hardik.
At that time, Hardik had said that both Chirag and Ketan were playing into the hands of some leaders of the BJP-led Gujarat government who are trying to weaken the stir.
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