Ahmedabad: Jailed Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel today claimed that the Congress will come to power in Gujarat after the 2017 Assembly polls.
Hardik also toughened his stand against the BJP-led state government by announcing that Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) will continue its agitation even as he claimed that the ongoing talks with government are about withdrawing cases against Patel youths and about not ending the stir.
The 22-year-old quota leader, who is in jail for two sedition cases, made these statements during his brief interaction with the media outside the Kathor court in Surat.
When asked who will come to power in 2017, Hardik said, "That is something which BJP needs to decide". When asked to reveal his own view, Hardik stated "Congress will win".
A few days ago, Hardik addressed a letter to state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and accused the party of using Patels for their political gains. Hardik also warned Solanki against such politics or else, he said, Congress may not come to power for the next 25 years.
On the ongoing talks with state government, Hardik said he has only agreed to arrive at a compromise formula with government for the release of Patel leaders and withdrawal of cases.
"Whatever compromise formula is being worked out with government is about cases faced by Patels, not about the ending agitation. Our agitation will continue," said Hardik.
He is lodged at Lajpore Jail in Surat and was brought to the court today.
During his interaction with the media, he also put his former lawyer B M Mangukiya in the dock.
"I am facing false cases because of Mangukiya," claimed Hardik, who recently removed him as his lawyer.
Refuting the allegtions, Mangukiya said, "I have not filed any false cases against Hardik. It seems that BJP- government is playing some tricks to create a rift between Patels."
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela welcomed Hardik's comments and expressed hope that Hardik owns up the responsibility to see that Congress comes into power.
"Government cannot be formed because Hardik or me or some X person wishes so. But such comments certainly create a pro-Congress atmosphere. I welcome Hardik's views and wish that he owns up what he has said and takes up the responsibility to see that Congress wins the polls," Vaghela said.
After today's production in the court, Hardik's lawyers shared another letter of his with media in which he again slammed some of the Patel community leaders for not extending help to families of those youths who died during the quota stir in August last year.