‘Good Things About BJP’, Says Hardik Patel in Another Barb Aimed at Congress Ahead of Gujarat Elections

A week after Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel said he felt like “a groom forced into nasbandi (vasectomy)”, on Friday he relayed another worrying message for the grand old party. This comes barely months before the Gujarat assembly elections, hence the Congress may do well to sit up and listen. The prominent Patidar leader has praised the BJP saying there are “some things good about the BJP and we must acknowledge that”.

Hardik Patel has long complained about being sidelined by the party high command. He joined the Congress just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, four years after he shot into the limelight with the Patidar quota agitation in 2015.

As for the fate of the Congress, it made gains in the 2017 assembly elections. However, the Patidar/Patel community purportedly did not back the party in the 2019 general elections even though Hardik had joined the Congress.

Now, according to a report by NDTV, Hardik has denied speculation that he is in talks with the BJP even though he has praised the saffron party. There is speculation that he is upset over a plan to rope in another prominent Patidar leader, Naresh Patel, into the Congress.

“The recent decisions that the BJP has taken politically, we have to accept that they have the strength to take such steps,” said Hardik in his comments on Friday. “I believe that without even taking their side or praising them, we can at least acknowledge the truth. If the Congress wants to become strong in Gujarat, then we have to improve our decision-making skills,” Hardik told NDTV.

But, he reportedly insisted that he was not on his way out of the Congress. “Why should I sever ties? There is no such discussion. We speak the truth. In our families also when we speak to our parents, we tell the truth. I am only speaking the truth so that the people accept the party,” he was quoted as saying.

Hardik is unhappy with the “style of functioning” of the party in Gujarat, claiming that he had not been invited to any meeting conducted by the state unit and was never consulted before making decisions. He also asked the top brass to not “insult” him.

Hardik said there were issues within that needed to be fixed, according to a report by India Today. “The problem with the Gujarat Congress party is the leadership. I don’t have a problem with any individual leader in Gujarat. The leadership does not let anyone work, and if someone works, they stop them,” he was quoted as saying in the report. “I have expressed concern with the party high command, and they have assured me a decision will be taken soon.”

According to the report, Gujarat BJP chief CR Patil praised Hardik for speaking out. “The whole country is influenced by the ideology of the BJP. Since 2014, Narendra Modi has been serving the country. It is good that Hardik Patel has spoken this in public. Many people don’t speak,” he was quoted as saying.

The NDTV report also quoted Hardik as calling himself a Ram devotee. Asked if he still considered himself a ‘Hinduwadi’ leader, the Congress leader said he was from the Raghuvanshi clan that revered Luv-Kush. “We are devotees of Lord Ram. We are devotees of Lord Shiva. We revere our ancestral gods. We are Hindus. According to Hindu traditions, to protect Hinduism, we are putting in efforts…” he is quoted as saying.

Gujarat assembly elections, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, are due in December.

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