OPINION: News of Hardik Patel joining Congress may be shocking for many but not for me

If reports are to be believed, quota spearhead and Patidar leader Hardik Patel is all set to join the grand old party Congress soon. Reports also suggest that he is likely to contest the Lok Sabha election 2019 from Jamnagar constituency in Gujarat.

“Patel, who led the agitation demanding reservation for the Patidar community in Gujarat is likely to join the Congress on March 12 in the presence of party chief Rahul Gandhi,” the sources said, reported news agency PTI.

Interestingly, Patel’s joining will coincide with the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in Ahmedabad.

After Rahul Gandhi becoming Congress president in December 2017, the party is focussing on Gujarat, the home state of PM Narendra Modi. Under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, the party had given a tough fight to the ruling BJP in the last assembly polls in the state at the end of 2017.

Have the signs of Hardik Patel’s inclination towards the Congress party came a long back?

Long back in May 2017 when I took the interview of Mr. Hardik Patel, there were two things which I observed: First, his anti-Modi mindset and his inclination towards the Congress party. In a reply to one of my questions, he said, “If we want to make the BJP lose, then we have to go somewhere.”

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Q5) Will you support Congress?

Hardik Patel: Only the time will tell. But if we want to make BJP lose, then we have to go somewhere.

CLICK HERE to read complete interview
For other interviews click here

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It may be recalled that in the 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections too, Hardik Patel extended support to the Congress party.

Two months prior to the state polls, there were rumours in October 2017 that Patel, reportedly, met Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, for about 40 minutes at a hotel in Ahmedabad, triggering speculation that he might join an anti-BJP alliance. Interestingly, on the same day, at a rally in Gandhinagar, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor joined the Congress.

A CCTV footage also surfaced.

“I have not met Rahul Gandhi, but I met Ashok Gehlot and Gujarat Congres president Bharatsinh Solanki to discuss the issues affecting the Patidar community, including OBC quota,” TOI quoted Patel as saying.

“Had I met Rahul, I would have met him in public, which would give me more mileage. Why should I meet Rahul secretly?” he asked.

In February this year, months after he attained the eligible age of 25 years, Hardik Patel, in Lucknow, announced to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2019.

The moment I heard about it, I had a déjà vu feeling that quota spearhead will join the Congress party soon.

In the recent past, as part of his anti-Modi campaign, he has actively met leaders like Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal.

In case he joins the Congress party on March 12, the chances of which are quite high, there will be an altogether a new beginning for him. And from here, his real test in politics will begin.

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About the author: Author is Deputy Editor in India TV and tweets at @AnuragSason

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Disclaimer: The views expressed by the author are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and views of India TV.

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