- Hardik Patel resigned from Congress days after Rahul Gandhi's Gujarat visit
- He is considered to be an influential leader in the Patidar community
- Patidars, representing almost 12% of Gujarat's population, are pivot in Assembly polls
Hardik Patel, Gujarat Congress working president, on Wednesday resigned from the post and as well as from the party's primary membership months before the western state goes to the polls. Patel, who had led the Patidar agitation in Gujarat ahead of the 2017 polls, was appointed as the working president of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) in July 2020.
"Today, after mustering courage, I am resigning from the party post and primary membership of the Congress. I hope my followers and people of Gujarat will welcome my step. I believe that I will be able to serve the state better after this step," he tweeted. Patel submitted his resignation letter to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi.
Hardik resigned from Congress days after Rahul Gandhi's Gujarat visit. A meeting between the two leaders, however, did not materialise. Hardik in his resignation letter said that when he met top party leaders, they seemed 'distracted by their mobile phones and other issues'.
"Senior leaders in Gujarat are more interested in ensuring that visiting leaders get their chicken sandwiches than engaging with people during yatras," he said in the letter. In a veiled dig at Rahul Gandhi, he said, "Our leader was abroad when he was needed in India during critical times."
The latest move by the 28-year-old firebrand Patidar leader has triggered talks that whether he will be joining the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the Assembly polls due by the year-end.
Earlier this month, Hardik had removed his designation and party poll symbol of 'hand' from his Twitter profile amid mounting speculation about his next political move after he launched a scathing attack on the state party leadership and praised the ruling BJP. He had expressed his displeasure with the state Congress leadership on multiple occasions in the last few months. The influential Patidar leader said that he was being "harassed" by some state leaders who were conspiring against him and wanted him to leave the party.
Hardik had last year dropped hints that all is not well in the Gujarat Congress. After his father passed away in May 2021, he had said no leader from the Gujarat Congress visited him even though he received condolence calls from other parties' leaders.
Hardik Patel came into the limelight after he led the Patidar quota stir in 2015. Hardik joined the Congress in 2019 despite his public promise of not entering politics.