I’m being harassed, says Hardik Patel hitting out at local Congress leaders


All they do is conspiring to force me to quit the party, says face of 2015 Patidar agitation

All they do is conspiring to force me to quit the party, says face of 2015 Patidar agitation

Working president of the Gujarat Congress and face of the Patidar agitation in 2015 Hardik Patel feels “harassed and sidelined” by party leaders ahead of the crucial Assembly elections. 

He accused the local leaders of ignoring him on the day a former legislator from Rajkot Indranil Rajyaguru resigned from the party and joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is trying to create its base in the State of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. 

On Thursday, Mr. Rajyaguru and his aide Vasram Sagathia, a former municipal councillor from Rajkot, joined the AAP a day after they met Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi. 

Mr. Rajyaguru was MLA from Rajkot from 2012 to 2017 and had contested the last Assembly polls against then Chief Minister Vijay Rupani in 2017. 

Mr. Patel accused the local leadership of scuttling his efforts to revive the party.

“All they do is conspiring to force me to quit the party,” he said without naming anyone. 

He also slammed the party for its indecisive approach towards inducting powerful Patidar community leader Naresh Patel from Saurashtra. 

“Why no decision on Nareshbhai,” he asked, adding that he would provide a massive impetus to the base in the politically crucial region which elects 52 MLAs in the House of 182 members. 

According to him, the Congress had benefited from the Patidar quota agitation in the 2017 polls but now the leaders are fighting among themselves instead of fighting the BJP and wrest power from it. 

“What I’m telling you is truth. I have been trying my best to strengthen the party in Gujarat,” he said. 

He claimed that he brought the issue to the notice of former party chief Rahul Gandhi many times but he did not take any action against any leader of the State unit. 

“I welcome Indranil Rajguruji and Vasrambhai Sagathiaji to the Aam Aadmi Party. Together we all will fulfill every expectation of the people of Gujarat,” Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet. 

The AAP also claimed that a large number of Congress leaders have joined the party and termed it as a “big blow” to the Congress.

(With inputs from our Delhi correspondent)

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