Hardik Patel to join BJP? This is what ex-Congress leader said

Updated on May 19, 2022 12:22 PM IST

The Congress has accused Hardik Patel of practicing 'politics of dishonesty' and being in touch with the BJP 'for the last six months for withdrawal of cases against him'.

Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who resigned from the Congress on Wednesday, was sharply critical of the Congress leadership (PTI File Photo)(HT_PRINT)
Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who resigned from the Congress on Wednesday, was sharply critical of the Congress leadership (PTI File Photo)(HT_PRINT)
By | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan

Ex Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel has played down talk of a switch to the ruling BJP months before elections in prime minister Narendra Modi's home state. He told news agency ANI: "I am not in BJP yet and have not taken any decision to go." Patel, 28, quit the Congress yesterday after weeks of public criticism and ripped into the GOP as he did so; '(they) were not interested in problems of people of Gujarat… more focussed on ensuring chicken sandwich for leaders from Delhi', Patel wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Hardik Patel - who rose to prominence after leading the Patidar community's agitation for reservation in 2015 - resigned Wednesday as the working president of the Congress' Gujarat unit and from the party he joined three years ago.

Sources have indicated Patel could swap the Congress for the Bharatiya Janata Party before the Gujarat election, which is due in December.

Signs that Hardik Patel was on his way out emerged as early as the first week of May, when he removed the party's name from his Twitter bio; that was a day before speculation the BJP was set to induct a 'senior Congress leader' into its state unit. Contacted by Hindustan Times then, Patel said: "… profile being talked about also shows Congress party symbol… I think explains everything".

Hardik Patel removes Congress reference from Twitter bio, but says…

In April too Patel batted away rumours of a Congress-BJP switch; he did, though, seem to leave wiggle room, saying: "… under the present circumstances, joining the BJP is out of the question."

'Have no plans to join BJP, but I welcome…': Congress' Hardik Patel

Yesterday, though, Patel joined another senior Congress leader (Sunil Jakhar of Punjab) in walking out of a party that has suffered a string of chastening election defeats and faces ever-growing calls for structural reform.

Patel's resignation letter was scathing in its criticism of leaders who, he said, did not have a road map and behaved as if they hated Gujarat and Gujaratis.

"Whenever our country faced challenges and when the Congress needed leadership… leaders were enjoying abroad…" he said.

Hardik Patel quits Congress, blames top leaders

"When it came to issues related to India, Gujarat and my Patidar community — the Congress’s only stand was to oppose whatever the Government of India led by prime minister Narendra Modi ji did…" Patel declared, adding fuel to the buzz he is set to join the BJP.

The Congress hit back saying his actions represented the "politics of dishonesty" and accused him of having been in touch with the BJP "for the last six months for the withdrawal of cases against him".

With input from ANI

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