Hardik Patel resignation: Amid mounting speculation, Gujarat Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel on Wednesday (May 18) finally resigned as the state Congress working president as well as from the party's primary membership. His resignation comes after a number of ultimatums that he issued to the party president, Sonia Gandhi. Last week, he removed his designation and party symbol of 'hand' from his Twitter profile. This comes days after Patel expressed strong displeasure over the functioning of the Gujarat Congress and claimed he was being "harassed" in the party.
"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," Patel wrote as he tweeted his resignation letter addressed to Sonia Gandhi.
With Hardik's resignation just months before Assembly election for 182-seat Gujarat Assembly, the Congress finds itself in doldrums yet again. On the other hand, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be hoping that Patel's exit would give them a hassle-free win the poll likely to be held in November/December.
Congress failed to capitalise on Patidar protest
Hardik Patel came into limelight after he led the Patidar quota stir in 2015. Hardik spearheaded the Patidar community campaign in Gujarat in 2015 seeking reservations under the OBC category. The Patidar quota agitation helped Congress win a significant number of seats in the elections to local bodies in 2015 and the 2017 Assembly polls when Congress had won 77 constituents in the 182-member House.
Gujarat Congress performance in last five elections
After Gujarat civic election results 2015, the Congress was seen making a serious comeback, even though the ruling BJP was winning most of the municipal corporations in the state. The Congress cashed in on resentment of the Patel community against BJP, giving shape to Patidar quota stir. Even though the BJP won in 2017 elections, Congress comfortably secured the second position and hence became the main Opposition party. However, the grand old party lost the plot as it failed to capitalise on the Patidar protest fully in Gujarat.
BJP's mastercard - Change the CM
Just when the Congress is trying to find its ground in the state and is trying to put its house in order, the BJP has already set an ambitious 150-seat target for itself and has also started working towards the goal. BJP has always managed to contain the anti-incumbency factor in the state. In 2017, the party replaced CM Anandiben Patel with Vijay Rupani ahead of assembly election. Similarly, Rupani too gave way to Bhupendra Patel this time.
In Uttarakhand too, the saffron party first replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat with Tirath Singh Rawat in March 2021 and then Pushkar Singh Dhami was made CM in July 2021, just months from the assembly election which was held earlier this year. The BJP retained power winning 47 seats in 70-seat Uttarakhand assembly.