Hardik Patel again hits out at party’s state leadership: Surge of dissent in Gujarat Congress

Hardik Patel again hits out at party's state leadership: Surge of dissent in Gujarat Congress
The Congress, which by default has been enjoying the status of the principal Opposition in the state, is now steadily losing its workers and senior leaders to both the BJP and the entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), leading to a serious crisis within the party.

On Thursday, two senior Congress leaders from Saurashtra region, Indraneel Rajguru and Vashram Sagathiya, joined AAP while

leader and Congress Working President Hardik Patel has gone ballistic against the party for not trusting him with enough responsibilities. Meanwhile, former Congress MLA from Gadhada Pravin Maru joined the BJP on Thursday.

Rajguru, one of the wealthiest legislators had made it to Gujarat Assembly from Rajkot East in 2012 and had contested against former CM Vijay Rupani from Rajkot West in 2017. However, he resigned from the party in 2018. While the party cajoled him back within a year, he went inactive since last year and has finally shifted to AAP.

While the Congress dilly-dallies on inducting Patidar leader Naresh Patel, sources in the know maintain that Patel has sought to be projected as the chief ministerial candidate, much to the discomfort of the High Command.

Meanwhile, Patidar leader Hardik Patel has also now come out openly against the state leadership, alleging he is not being “properly utilised” by the party. Speaking to ET, Hardik minced no word in expressing his frustration with the state leadership. “I am not called to attend important meetings or not made part of any decision making process,” he claimed. “For almost three years that I have been the working president of the party, I have not been given any clear responsibility,” Hardik said, adding while the party lost its shot at power in 2017, when it had put up its best show in two-and-a-half decades, riding on the Patidar agitation, its strategy still hinges on the social engineering formulation of Madhavsinh Solanki that involved Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslims (KHAM).

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“Even at the expense of my own interest, I have been saying that Naresh Patel should be brought in, but the party needs to move fast and get its act together;” Hardik said. “That is not happening and this won’t augur well for the party,” he added. He alleged that the Congress in Gujarat is a divided house and the party has not been able to gain power over decades due to infighting.

Hardik said he has no plans to leave the Congress.

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