Jun 2, 2022 04:00 pm
Hardik Patel, the 28-year-old Patidar leader had quit the Congress party on May 18 and today at a function in Gandhinagar he formally announced joining the BJP.
Patel’s exit is a big loss for the Congress in poll year, especially after setbacks in recent assembly elections in five states. Gujarat goes to the polls later this year. He rose to prominence in 2015 when he spearheaded an agitation for quotas in jobs and education for his Patidar caste. He is considered the face of the Patidar community, a staunch supporter of the BJP.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, he was said to have played a key role in helping the Congress win 77 seats and restrict the BJP to 99 in the 182-member house. Since then, however, the Congress has lost 14 lawmakers to the BJP due to defections and defeats in by polls. The Congress now has 63 legislators in the Gujarat Assembly.
The Congress has accused Patel of singing the BJP’s tune and said that his resignation letter was “dictated by the BJP”. Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil had reminded Patel of his criticism of the BJP in the past.