Days after claims of being sidelined within the party and not being made a part of important decisions, Congress leader Hardik Patel on Wednesday, 18 May, resigned from the Congress.
Tweeting out the resignation letter, Patel said, "Today, I have mustered the courage to resign from all posts as well as the primary membership of the party. I believe that all my supporters and the people of Gujarat will stand by my decision. I also believe that following this decision, I will be able to work positively for Gujarat."
In the letter, Patel said, "Despite several attempts to steer the Congress in the right direction, the party has constantly been working against the interests of my country and our society. Hence, I wish to draw your attention to some very important subjects," he said.
"The youth of the country wants a strong and capable leadership. Over the last three years, I have found that the Congress party and its leadership both at centre and state level have been reduced to merely opposing everything, whereas the people always seek an alternative that thinks for their future and is capable of taking India ahead," he added.
'Party Acted as Roadblock to Ram Mandir, Article 370 Abrogation'
Patel further accused the party's senior leadership of "lack of seriousness" about major issues.
"Be it in the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, implementation of GST – India wanted solutions for these problems for a long time and Congress only played the role of a roadblock and was always only obstructive. When it came to issues in India, Gujarat, and my Patidar community, Congress' only stand was to oppose what Government of India led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji did!" he said.
He further said that top leadership of the party was more concerned about "messages in their phones" and were abroad when the party needed leadership.
"I always felt that leaders were not really interested in hearing about problems concerning the people of Gujarat but were more engrossed on what messages they had received on their mobile and other such trivial things. Whenever our country faced challenges and whenever Congress needed leadership, Congress leaders were enjoying abroad! Senior leaders behave in a way like they hate Gujarat and Gujaratis. How in the world that the Congress then expects that the people of Gujarat will see them as an alternative to lead our state?" Patel asked.
Meanwhile, reacting to the resignation, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the Congress has been erased from across the country and that its leader are leaving.
"Congress ruled Maharashtra for 15 years but now has become a party at third number while in Delhi it's nowhere to be seen. Their people are leaving . Their (Gujarat) working president (Hardik Patel) has no confidence on unofficial president and he left," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
'State Leaders More Concerned About Chicken Sandwich for Delhi Leaders'
Patel further said that the party lacked ground connect in Gujarat and took jibes at the Congress central leadership for being more concerned about non-issues.
"It is unfortunate that workers like us, who travel 500-600 km in our cars in a single day to meet people, get to see that big leaders of Congress in Gujarat are far away from issues of Gujarat but are more focused on ensuring that chicken sandwich for leaders, who have come from Delhi, is delivered on time!" Patel said.
He further said that the Congress had insulted Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for years and that "no youngster is willing to be even seen as our worker or voter."
"Even when people like me wanted to do something good for the state, all I and my community faced was ridicule and contempt. When I joined the Congress, I did not know that the hearts and minds of leadership of the Congress are filled with such hatred towards our countrymen of India, towards my community and especially towards the youth," he claimed.
'Allegations Not of Someone Who Just Quit Congress': Party MP Shaktisinh Gohil Blames BJP
Meanwhile, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil launched an attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party, saying Patel's words and allegations were not of one who had just quit the Congress. Instead, they had been written by the saffron party.
"These are not allegations of someone who has quit Congress. These are all written down by BJP. This mouth is theirs. The language is of BJP. They just speak it out loud. Had BJP not decided it, everyone's words would not have been the same," Congress MP Shaktisinh Gohil said.
"If you talk about (party's) leadership, you were sharing a stage with Rahul Gandhi a few days back. Who stopped you from meeting him? We have internal democracy. There is a thin line between internal democracy & indiscipline. BJP doesn't have internal democracy," he added.
Meanwhile, former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh and Congress leader Kamal Nath said, "That was his intention. Many people leave the party, and many people join the party."
Resignation Days After Friction With Top Leadership
On 13 April, Patel had expressed his dissatisfaction with the party over allegedly being sidelined and claimed that the Congress was not willing to utilise his skills adequately.
The move by the Patidar leader comes days after he removed 'Congress' from his Twitter bio over friction with the party leadership.
"I am not invited to any of the meetings of the PCC, they don't consult me before taking any decisions; then what is the point of this post?" Patel had said.
"My position in the party is that of a newly married groom who has been made to undergo nasbandi (vasectomy)," he had told The Indian Express.
In 2015, Hardik spearheaded the Patidar community campaign in Gujarat. He had sought reservations under the category of Other Backward Classes (OBCs).