Hardik Patel has said he is ready to back the Congress for the Gujarat elections if it supports his campaign for reservation for the Patidar community.
Ahmedabad: Hardik Patel, the 24-year-old face of the Patidar community’s campaign for reservation that has locked horns with the ruling BJP in Gujarat, seems to be playing hardball with the Congress over his support to the party for the state elections to be held in December.
A day after Congress sources indicated that Mr Patel would share the stage with Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Surat on November 3, he tweeted that the party must first come out with a clear stand on the reservation issue.
“If the party doesn’t not clear its stand on the issue by November 3, it could face the same fate as Amit Shah did during his rally in Surat,” tweeted Mr Patel.
BJP chief Amit Shah’s meeting with leaders of the Patidar community in Surat last month descended into chaos as supporters of Mr Patel went on a rampage, chanting his name and vandalizing the furniture.
Though the Congress party has openly expressed its support to the Patidar leader in the past, it is yet to make its stand clear on a separate reservation quota for the community. A separate quota for the Patels in government jobs and colleges could take the reservation percentage beyond the 50 per cent currently allowed by a Supreme Court ruling. The Congress party has still to react to Mr Patel’s threat.
Mr Patel has been indirectly expressing his backhanded support to the Congress party, making announcements at recently rally like: “If you have to bring down a maha chor (mega thief) it doesn’t matter if a chor (thief) is helped”.
The BJP on its part has been alleging that Mr Patel was nothing but a B-Team of the Congress. A CCTV clip leaked by the Gujarat Police had shown how despite vehemently denying to do so, Mr Patel did apparently meet Rahul Gandhi in a city five star hotel. Both Mr Patel and the Congress have denied any such meeting.(NDTV)