GANDHINAGAR: With the assembly elections just a few months away, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) further strengthened its ranks as its effort to woo the Patidar community got a big boost with the inclusion of community leader Hardik Patel on Thursday.
Hardik, who resigned from the Congress last month, was inducted into the ruling party by state unit chief CR Paatil along with senior party leader and former deputy chief minister Nitin Patel.
The move was on expected lines with several posters coming up at the party office in Gujarat capital welcoming the young leader into the saffron fold.
“Today I am starting a new chapter. I will work as a small soldier. We will do a program every 10 days, in which MLAs, including those who are unhappy with Congress, will be asked to join BJP… Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the pride of the whole world,” Hardik said after joining the party.
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Hardik had quit the Congress on May 18, just three days after the grand old party’s Nav Sankalp Chintan Shivir in Rajasthan’s Udaipur. In his one-page resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Patel was unapologetically acerbic with ripostes on the irresponsible and cavalier attitude of the leaders of the Grand Old Party.
“Whenever I met the leadership, I felt that instead of focusing on the issues of Gujarat, they had more focus on their mobiles,” Patel had said.
He also lambasted the Gujarat Congress leadership and said that they are more interested in ensuring “chicken sandwiches” for the leaders coming from Delhi.
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Taking an indirect dig at Rahul Gandhi, he said, “Whenever this country needed the Congress leadership, at that time our leaders were abroad.”
The 28-year-old along with then two other young politicians Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani once threatened to challenge the BJP rule in the state during the last election.
Since then, however, Thakor has since joined BJP and Mevani, who was elected as an Independent MLA from Vadgam, has been throwing his weight behind the Congress.