Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel to join BJP on Thursday
Weeks after leaving the Indian National Congress, Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel is all set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday, reported ANI. He was reportedly miffed with the state Congress leaders over his role ahead of the Gujarat Assembly polls due later this year. When asked if joining BJP was an option, Patel last week said, "Why shouldn't it be?"
- Patel had joined the Congress right before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
- He was made the working president of the Gujarat Congress—a post he alleged had little meaning in the party.
- Recently, Patel had asserted that if he joined the BJP, it would not be on the condition that cases filed against him during the 2015 Patidar movement be dropped.
Confirming the development, BJP's Gujarat spokesperson Yagnesh Dave said that Patel would join the party on Thursday in the presence of state president CR Paatil. The BJP is now hopeful that with Patel's entry, the Patidar community—comprising one-sixth of Gujarat's population—will swing in its favor. To recall, Patel had once been a staunch critic of PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"I am gathering the courage to resign from the Congress party and post. I am sure my decision will be welcomed by my colleagues and the people of Gujarat." "I believe that with this step, I will be able to work really positively for Gujarat in the future," Patel posted on Twitter on May 18, sharing his resignation letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Back on April 14, 2022, Patel alleged that Gujarat Congress leaders were harassing him and wanted him to leave the party. Patel alleged that although he apprised Rahul Gandhi of the issue, no action was taken. He was also reportedly miffed at the Congress's plan to rope in the Khodaldham Temple Trust chairperson Naresh Patel, a prominent Patidar face, ahead of 2022 Assembly polls.
Earlier, the 28-year-old leader said that despite several attempts to "steer the Congress in the right direction, it has constantly been working against the interests of the country and the society." Congress "has been rejected in virtually every state because they have no roadmap to present to the people." The disgruntled leader further said that Congress can't be an alternative to leading the state.
Belonging to north Gujarat's influential vote bank, the Kadva Patidar community, Patel rose to prominence while leading the Patidar agitation in 2015, demanding benefits of the OBC quota. In the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections, he had backed Congress. However, things changed after he joined the party in 2019 with political observers saying that he seemed to have "lost his sheen" and crowd-pulling abilities.