Gujarat Congress leaders harassing me, want me to leave party, alleges Hardik
Ahmedabad: Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel on Thursday alleged that the leaders of his party's state unit were harassing him and want him to leave the party.
Patel also said that although he had taken up the issue of his harassment with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi many times, no action has been taken to address his grievances.
Patel had attained prominence when he spearheaded the Patidar community's campaign in Gujarat in 2015 seeking reservations under the OBC category. However, his popularity shrank after he joined the Congress in 2019 as he had earlier promised that he would never enter politics.
Although the Congress benefited due to quota agitation in the 2017 state assembly elections, the Patidar community did not support the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls or subsequent municipal or panchayat elections after Patel joined it.
"I am being harassed so much that I feel bad about it. Gujarat Congress leaders want that I should leave the party," Patel told PTI Bhasha in a telephonic interview.
"I am more pained because I have represented the situation to Rahul Gandhi many times, but no action has been taken by him against Gujarat Congress leaders," he said.
The Congress's plan to rope in chairman of the Khodaldham Temple Trust Naresh Patel, a prominent Patidar face, ahead of 2022 state polls has apparently angered Hardik, who believes that his clout as Patidar leader will be finished if Naresh Patel joins the Congress party.
"You used Hardik in 2017, you want to use Naresh bhai in 2022 and in 2027 you would use another Patidar leader. Why don't you support and strengthen Hardik?" he said.
"They should take Naresh bhai, but will they treat him like the way the way they did to me?" he asked.
Hardik said despite being a working president of the party's state unit, no work has been given to him. "I am not called to attend important meetings or not made part of any decision making process," he claimed.
He said that it was due to his Patidar quota agitation that the Congress benefited in the 2017 elections.
He also alleged that the Congress in Gujarat is a divided house and the party has not been able to gain power in the last 30 years due to infighting.
Hardik said he has no plans to leave the Congress.
On Wednesday, Hardik had expressed displeasure over the state Congress's "style of functioning", claiming that he was sidelined in the state unit and the leadership is not willing to utilise his skills. He had expressed his grouse a day after he hinted at contesting elections after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in a 2015 rioting and arson case.