Former Congress leader Hardik Patel, who quit the party in June and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said that Rahul Gandhi needs to undertake a “Congress Jodo” exercise instead of the ongoing “Bharat Jodo Yatra”.
When asked about Rahul Gandhi doing a rally in poll-bound Gujrat, Patel said, “Congress should first do Congress Jodo instead of the Bharat Jodo Yatra. The question is whether Rahul Gandhi will come after the elections or before the elections. The people of Gujarat do not want to entertain Congress.” “I have been in the Congress and I know that the Congress has always insulted the Gujaratis and raised questions on the identity and pride of Gujarat. The people of Gujarat have never accepted Congress and will never do also. There is no comparison or fight between BJP with the Congress. Our motive is to take our model of development further,” he added.
Hardik Patel is fighting the assembly election on a BJP ticket from Gujarat’s Viramgam. About the election, he said, “I’ll work to shoulder the responsibility given to me by BJP. My effort will be to win from Viramgam by taking everyone together. I’m confident that the people of Viramgam will make the BJP candidate win.” Patel had earlier said that he has joined the BJP to work. “I will work as a small soldier. I have never put forth any demands before anyone for any post. I am joining the BJP to work. When people are connecting with the ongoing development works in the country under the leadership of PM Modi, then I should also do the same. PM Modi is the pride of the entire world,” Patel had said in June.
Patel catapulted to the political centre stage in 2015 when he spearheaded the Patidar reservation agitation in Gujarat, building the campaign in the run-up to the 2017 state Assembly elections. Initially, Patel demanded the OBC status for the Patidar community. Subsequently, it was transformed into a demand for reservations for the Economically Weaker Section (EWS). His emergence on the political scene in the state put the then Chief Minister Anandiben Patel in a spot. In 2016, Anandiben Patel announced her resignation from the post.
Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Patel joined Congress in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. He, was then, appointed as the working president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee in Gujarat in 2020.