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Congress leader Hardik Patel, touted as ‘answer to Modi’ by neutral journalists, expresses anger against his party after Gujarat rout

Hardik Patel said he attended 27 public rallies for local body polls all on his own and not organised by the Congress party

Long touted by ‘neutral journalists’ as an ‘answer to Modi’, Congress working president Hardik Patel is miffed with the Gujarat Congress unit for not using him enough. Patel, who rose to prominence after spearheading the Patidar quota agitation in 2015, is unhappy with the Gujarat Congress leaders and has made no bones about it.

“I am not used to the best of my abilities. I am associated with Congress and connected with their ideology. So I am working to help the party win the elections. I came to Congress because of the ideology of the party. I want to see the party winning elections,” Patel said.

Speaking in an interview with the Indian Express, Hardik stated that the Congress’s state leadership did not organise a single public meeting for him ahead of the local body elections. Patel, who was campaigning for the second phase of the local body polls, said he attended 27 public rallies, all on his own and not organised by the Congress party. Patel bemoaned that if Ahmed Patel were alive, the Congress loyalist would not have let the BJP gain 219 seats uncontested so far.

Highlighting that Gujarat Congress has underutilised him, Hardik said, “Many times I tell the party that when I joined the Congress, I thought Congress would utilise me. Even there, I feel that my Pradesh high command, the state party in-charge has failed. Organise my meetings, I am ready to do 25 meetings a day. You tell me from today you have to do a 500 km padayatra, assign me something, I tell the party, again and again, give me some work.”

“…Not a single one of my tours have been decided by the PCC (Pradesh Congress Committee). Still, I am on my toes because I want to strengthen the party, whether someone else does or not. They (Congress leaders) might be wanting to pull me down, push me and bring me down. Let them, I will stand up again,” Patel said.

BJP retains all six municipal corporations in Gujarat that went to polls on February 21

Patel’s lamentation comes after an embarrassing poll drubbing that Congress received in the six Municipal corporation elections in Gujarat and ahead of the second phase of the polls in which seats for 81 municipalities, 31 district panchayats and 231 taluka panchayats will be up for grabs on February 28. The results of the elections will be declared on March 2.

In the recently concluded local body polls, the ruling BJP retained power in all the six municipal corporations in the state — Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Jamnagar and Bhavnagar. The polls were held on February 21. Congress had a disastrous poll outcome, with other political parties such as AAP making impressive gains at its expense.

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