Young Turk Hardik Patel, who led the biggest Patidar agitation between 2015 and 2017 and described Union Home Minister Amit Shah as General Dyre, is finally on his knees and all set to join the BJP next week.
According to sources close to Patel, he will embrace the BJP on May 30 or May 31 in Gandhinagar. He also dropped broad hints about this and even indicated that he would contest the forthcoming Gujarat Assembly elections.
A source close to the development said Patel had realised that joining the BJP was the only way the criminal cases, including one of sedition, against him would be withdrawn enabling him to contest the elections. The possibility of this happening was dim if he remained with Congress. The cases were filed during the peak of his Patidar agitation between 2015 and 2017.
Hardik Patel, who became the youngest Gujarat Congress Working President in 2019 and pledged to defeat the BJP, quit the opposition party on May 18. In one breath, Patel, 29, called the Congress anti-people, anti-Gujarat and anti-Hindu while praising the BJP leadership for revoking Article 370 and paving the way for a Ram temple in Ayodhya. And has been repeating these charges ever since.
This was one week after he shared the dais with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who addressed a public rally in the tribal district of Dahod on May 10. Patel had then told reporters that his sitting on the dais with Gandhi was evidence of his commitment to the Congress party.
He had been sulking for the last three months claiming that he was not being given his due in the Congress party or involved in any major decision or public events. The opposition had countered this asserting that he was made the Working President and he had all the freedom to hold any public events or strategy meetings by virtue of his post.
Now, once he joins the BJP, he would take out an Ekta Yatra from Somnath Temple to the Statue of Unity. Reliable sources said he was given two options: To join the party in presence of National BJP chief JP Nadda in Delhi or Gandhinagar with Gujarat BJP affairs in-charge Bhupender Yadav or National General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh. He is learnt to have opted for the latter.
Sources also said Patel wished to join in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who would both be here in Gujarat on Saturday, was summarily rejected. “He is not so important that Modi or Shah would have time for him,” quipped a party leader.
Hardik and the BJP are planning to address a large public gathering on the day he joins, sources said.