Exclusive | Won’t Join Cong But Open to Backing Them: Hardik Patel

In an exclusive interview with The Quint, Hardik Patel reiterated, “BJP is maha chor and Congress is chor.”

3 min read
Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel. 

Amid speculation on whether Hardik Patel will be joining the Congress ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Patidar leader unequivocally said on Wednesday, “I won’t be joining the Congress.”

In an exclusive interview to The Quint, he also asserted that he has not met Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, but indicated that he plans to meet him in the coming days and that he is open to the idea of backing the Congress in this election.

However, the 24-year-old activist reiterated a comment he had earlier made in a rally: “BJP is maha chor and Congress is chor.”

Watch the full interview below:

‘Narendra Modi, in His Greed For Power, Has Only Instilled Fear in People’

Explaining why there is a need for a vote against the BJP, Patel said that issues such as unemployment and farmer suicides have been plaguing the state.

Narendra Modi, in his greed for power, has only instilled fear in the people… There is a crackdown against those who are leading protests – cases are being filed against many people, some are even being killed.

‘OBCs Will Support Us’

Alongside Hardik Patel, another leader who has taken Gujarat politics by storm is OBC leader Alpesh Thakor. Thakor joined the Congress on Monday in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. In an interview with The Quint on Tuesday, Thakor had questioned why the Patidars, being an affluent community in Gujarat, need to ask for reservation.

Meanwhile, Hardik Patel, on being asked whether his demand for Patidar reservation is in conflict with OBC reservation, said:

If your intentions are right, then you can accommodate reservations for all the communities in need. The Congress can implement reservations when they come to power, if they want to… But I would also like to tell you that OBCs are with us and we are confident they will support us.

‘Not Affected by the Warrant, Will Respect The Law’

Earlier on Wednesday, a non-bailable warrant had been issued against Patel in connection with alleged vandalism of a BJP MLA’s office. Indicating that the warrant did not affect him, Patel said:

If they arrest me today, I will act according to the law and its procedures. I must tell you that I completely respect the law.

‘Stand Against Anti-Democratic BJP’

Though he dismissed rumours of him meeting Rahul Gandhi, the Patidar leader did go on to say that he would meet the Congress vice-president sometime in the near future.

It’s necessary to talk to Rahul Gandhi because we need to know what the Congress can do when it is in power. Why shouldn’t I talk to him? I hope something good will come out of it.

At the same time, he maintained that he would not be joining the Congress ahead of Gujarat elections, saying that he would continue to focus on working for the public.

Patel urged the people to stand against an “anti-democratic” BJP and maintained that the Congress has the potential to do good work as it has been out of power in the state for too long.

“I am sure Gujarat has a bright future and will be ahead of all the other states,” he says.

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