Former Congress leader Hardik Patel is set to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday, days after exiting the Grand Old party. The Patidar leader performed a ‘pooja’ at his Ahmedabad residence on Thursday morning ahead of formally joining the party.
After months of back and forth over infighting in the Gujarat unit, Patidar leader Hardik Patel finally quit the Congress on May 18 in yet another blow for the party just months ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
Gujarat | Hardik Patel performs ‘pooja’ at his residence in Ahmedabad.
He will be joining Bharatiya Janata Party today. pic.twitter.com/AqMboWjs7e
— ANI (@ANI) June 2, 2022
Hardik Patel on Thursday confirmed in a tweet that he is joining the Saffron party and said, “With the feelings of national interest, state interest, public interest and social interest, I am going to start a new chapter from today. I will work as a small soldier in the noble work of service to the nation under the leadership of the successful Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Bhai Modi.”
राष्ट्रहित, प्रदेशहित, जनहित एवं समाज हित की भावनाओं के साथ आज से नए अध्याय का प्रारंभ करने जा रहा हूँ। भारत के यशस्वी प्रधानमंत्री श्री नरेन्द्र भाई मोदी जी के नेतृत्व में चल रहे राष्ट्र सेवा के भगीरथ कार्य में छोटा सा सिपाही बनकर काम करूँगा।
— Hardik Patel (@HardikPatel_) June 2, 2022
Announcing his decision on Twitter with a resignation letter marked to party president Sonia Gandhi, Hardik Patel had 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)”.
Hardik Patel, the poster boy and face of the 2015 Patidar quota agitation, was once seen as one of the key faces to fight the BJP in its strongest bastion, Gujarat, with the agitation being one of the toughest challenges for the Saffron party to deal with in the state.
Patel’s entry to the BJP is being seen as party’s key step in its bid to woo the Patidars with an eye on the 2022 state poll. BJP’s efforts to woo the Patidar community have been going on since September 2021 when it abruptly removed the then CM, Vijay Rupani, and his entire Cabinet to bring Bhupendra Patel to the post.
While the Patidars constitute less than 15 per cent of Gujarat’s total population, they are a key vote bank in around 60 of the 180 assembly seats in Gujarat which makes them influential enough to determine the poll outcome.
Patidar community’s hold over state’s politics is mainly driven by their control over businesses, cooperative, construction, and realty sector along with small and medium enterprises and private education.
PM Modi has been in attendance of nearly half-a-dozen events of the Patidar community in person and virtually since Marth this year as part BJP’s Patidar outreach.
With inputs from News18