After months of back and forth over infighting in the Gujarat unit, Patidar leader Hardik Patel finally quit the Congress on Wednesday in yet another blow for the Grand Old Party just months ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
Announcing his decision on Twitter with a resignation letter marked to party president Sonia Gandhi, Patel said he was “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 future," he said.
The Patidar activist, who joined the Congress in 2019 just before the Lok Sabha election, had been publicly airing his grievances with the party and the top brass over being sidelined ahead of polls. He had recently compared his situation to that of a “groom forced into nasbandi (vasectomy)".
आज मैं हिम्मत करके कांग्रेस पार्टी के पद और पार्टी की प्राथमिक सदस्यता से इस्तीफा देता हूँ। मुझे विश्वास है कि मेरे इस निर्णय का स्वागत मेरा हर साथी और गुजरात की जनता करेगी। मैं मानता हूं कि मेरे इस कदम के बाद मैं भविष्य में गुजरात के लिए सच में सकारात्मक रूप से कार्य कर पाऊँगा। pic.twitter.com/MG32gjrMiY— Hardik Patel (@HardikPatel_) May 18, 2022
In his letter, Patel launched a scathing attack at Rahul Gandhi, who did not meet with him separately during his recent Gujarat visit. “When I met top leaders, they seemed distracted by their mobile phones and other issues as opposed to listening to issues concerning Gujarat," he wrote, adding that senior leaders in Gujarat are more interested in ensuring that “visiting leaders get their chicken sandwiches" than engaging with people during yatras.
“Our leader was abroad when he was needed in India during critical times," the Patidar leader further said, as he shared the sentiments with BJP and other Congress opponents, who bashed Gandhi over his foreign visits.
Patel had triggered speculations of leaving the Congress after he reached a day later for the party’s ‘Chintan Shivir’ — a two-day meet to chalk out a roadmap for the party and help reverse its electoral fortunes.
He later met the Patidar community’s influential leader Naresh Patel and requested him to take a call regarding joining politics at the earliest.
If rumours are to be believed, the youth leader is planning to join the BJP.
Speaking to CNN-News18 earlier, Patel had said he would take the final call on his future after meeting Rahul Gandhi. He had also shot down buzz of being upset with the Congress but had pinpointed several issues ailing the Gujarat unit.
“If I am a working president, then my responsibilities should be decided. It has been two years since I assumed the role but so far, responsibilities have not been allocated. I may be the first politician who is saying work should be given. You tell me; if a 5-6-km-long padyatra has to be taken out in 4-5 districts and they make me in-charge of Youth NSUI, then isn’t it my responsibility to look for young people? So, this is a simple demand within the party that tasks should be assigned,” he said.
Talking about groupism and infighting, Patel had said: “There are several states where leaders are very senior but they are not in a position to work and if the young leadership wants to work, then they’re not allowed to do so. I want that such groupism should be stopped and if, in the coming days, we are able to keep this groupism aside and stay united — as the saying goes that five fingers can become a fist and work together — then good results will be achieved.”
He had also denied having issues with the top brass reaching out to Naresh Patel, saying: “If I can recommend the names of Jignesh Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar who are my age, what problems will I have if Naresh Patel, who is 55-60 years old, joins the party? This is a baseless question.”
The Patidar leader had recently removed the party name from his Twitter bio, fueling speculations that he was planning to jump ship. He delivered yet another googly when he removed mentions of Congress from his WhatsApp and Telegram bio. In a move seen as cosying up to the BJP, Patel described himself, and the Congress, as believers of Lord Ram, promised to distribute copies of the Bhagavad Gita, and also stated that he was “proud to be a Hindu".
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