Ahmedabad, Oct 15 (IANS) Firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Sunday asserted that he was determined to work for the defeat of the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat.
“I am not working for the victory of the opposition Congress, but am committed to the legitimate rights of my community,” Patel said at a conclave of India TV here.
“If the Congress party wins, it will be a vote against dictatorship.”
Asked why he was shying away from saying that his Patidar movement was for the Congress, Patel said: “I have said earlier too that my fight is not for or against any political party, but against the system, against those who want to crush my democratic right to speak up for my rights.”
“If the BJP agrees to give what we are demanding I will wrap up the agitation but not otherwise,” he said, adding that their agitation will continue even if the Congress comes to power.
Asked what if the BJP came back to power, a smiling Patel said: “Wait till December (when the Gujarat elections are due).”
He also asserted that he and his supporters “are neither slaves of BJP, nor Congress”.
He however also that maintained that “even now, if the BJP convinces us that it can give us reservation in accordance with the Constitution, we will end our movement. And if it does not, our movement will continue”.
The Patidar leader also said that the Congress has offered 20 per cent reservation to Patel community, while the BJP government’s decision of granting 10 per cent reservation was quashed by the Gujarat High Court last year.
“This time, we want to be very clear. Congress must explain how they can provide 20 per cent reservation in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.
He also said that if demonetization and GST (Goods and Services Tax) can be enforced at the stroke of midnight, “why can’t our legislature sit till midnight and sort out the reservation issue?”
Asked about why he welcomed Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi in Gujarat on social media, Patel replied: “If (Narendra) Modiji can meet Nawaz Sharif, why can’t I welcome Rahulji in the spirit of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ (guests are gods)?”
Gandhi arrived in Gujarat on three day election campaign tour on September 25 and was welcomed by the Patidar leader.
Rejecting his “soft attitude” towards Congress Vice President, Patel said: “He (Rahul) is not the son of my mausi (aunt) that I am soft towards him.”
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