Seems trouble for the already beleaguered Congress is far from over. On Wednesday, state Congress working president Hardik Patel expressed displeasure over the party’s style of functioning. Much like other party veterans, this Patidar leader too claimed that he was being “sidelined and the leadership is not willing to harness his connect with the people.”
Patel minced no words in stating that the Congress “milked the benefits of the Patidar andolan” in 2017. As spearhead of the movement which divided Gujarat into clear “with-the-Congress” and “with-the-BJP” factions, he knows the numbers he comes with. In fact, he clearly asked the Congress “not to insult him.”
Hardik Patel’s current grouse is the high command’s “delay tactics” over the induction of industrialist and Leuva strongman, Naresh Patel. “It has been over two months and rumors are rife all over. In 2017, the party used me. In 2022, I hear of someone else. So, in 2027, will it be another face?” Hardik made his point to the media at a press meet held in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
That apart, Naresh Patel, 56, holds the sway over Leuva Patidars, a sub-group of the numerically-strong and politically influential Patidar community concentrated mainly in the Saurashtra region, that holds sway over 48 out of Gujarat’s total 182 Assembly seats. Little wonder then that all major political parties, including the ruling BJP and the Opposition Congress and AAP, have been wooing to get him into their respective folds, with the state Assembly polls due in December this year.
When contacted, state Congress president Jagdish Thakor added: “Yes, we have approached Naresh Bhai and are awaiting his decision. We will also have a meeting with Hardik to understand his angst.”