'Why shouldn't it be…': Hardik Patel on BJP as an option before Gujarat polls

Updated on May 25, 2022 10:37 AM IST

Former Congress leader Hardik Patel quit the GOP last week after fierce criticism of senior leaders, including those in Delhi - a veiled reference to party chief Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Ex Congress leader Hardik Patel addresses a press conference after tendering his resignation to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)(PTI)
Ex Congress leader Hardik Patel addresses a press conference after tendering his resignation to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. (PTI Photo)(PTI)

Ex Congress leader Hardik Patel said on Tuesday that joining Gujarat's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party - just months before assembly elections - remains an option. Patel, who ripped into the Congress' senior leadership as he quit the party less than a week ago, replied 'why shouldn't it be' when a national news publication asked him if he would consider taking up with the BJP, which he predicted would win a 'one-sided' election and retain power for an unprecedented seventh consecutive term.

"Why shouldn't it be…" Patel said when asked if the BJP is an option, adding, "When the elections come, you will see me in an important role." However, the Patidar leader refrained from any specifics and, when pressed on which party he would join, said, "When it is decided, you will know."

"… there is no plan (for now) … I will sit with friends and well-wishers and think about what I should do so that people will benefit. Our objective is to stay amidst people and thus pick the best option."

READ: Hardik asks why Congress hates Hindus, cites Ram temple remark

Patel also said that were he to join the BJP it would not be on condition that cases (filed during the 2015 Patidar agitation) against him be withdrawn. 

"Not me but against the youth of the community. They did not come out for themselves. Why should they be harassed?"

Last week, after he quit the Congress, Patel played down talk of a switch to the BJP. "I am not in BJP yet and have not taken any decision to go," he told ANI.

Patel also seemed to leave the door open for the Aam Aadmi Party - on a high after thumping the Congress in Punjab this year to form the government there.

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

Disappointing results in other states - notably Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh - have not dampened the party's determination to become a national player ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

"Their (the AAP's) strategy is definitely better than the Congress'. That’s what I was tired of telling the Congress," Patel said, questioning his former party over what he saw as faulty tactics. These, he said, included not naming a chief ministerial face (or at least faces) and not connecting with Gujaratis.

Patel raised similar points when he quit the party, stating there was no 'road map' and the Congress '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.

READ: Hardik Patel quits Congress, blames top leaders

Asked about his predictions for the BJP and AAP in the Gujarat election, Patel would not comment but, in an ominous warning for the GOP, said: "… I don’t see the Congress anywhere."

 

 

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