The face of the Patidar campaign hints at electoral understandings with like-minded organisations ahead of assembly polls in state.
New Delhi: Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar movement, apparently does not want to miss any opportunity when it comes to attacking the BJP government in Gujarat. Recently, he tweeted a welcome message for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, indicating a possible alignment with the party in the poll-bound state.
In a telephonic interview with Associate Editor Kumar Anshuman, the 24-year-old leader talks about his objective, his opinion of Rahul Gandhi and possible electoral understandings with other organisations. Excerpts:
You welcomed Rahul Gandhi on Twitter during his recent tour of Gujarat. Is there any political meaning to it?
He (Rahul) is the vice-president of the Congress and he came to our state to visit Dwarkadhish temple. I welcomed him as a citizen of the state. That’s what I can say as of now.
Is there a possibility that you would align with the Congress in the upcoming polls?
I feel I am not mature enough to contest elections. However, I would do whatever would be better for the state; for Patidars and other communities who are unhappy with the current regime. There is still enough time to think about it.
What’s your opinion about Rahul as a leader?
Rahul Gandhi is a genuine politician. It is the media which has shown him in poor light. He comes from a family of freedom fighters and nation builders and we all should respect that.
You met the Gujarat chief minister last week and it has been reported that you have reached an agreement with the government.
The BJP has been spreading this rumour. I met him as a representative of my community. They (BJP) are trying to earn political mileage by dividing the Patidars. I have made it very clear that defeating the BJP in Gujarat is one of my top priorities.
The state government is considering revoking the charges against Patidar youth and also compensating the families of the 2015 protest victims. What do you have to say?
If they do that, it would be a good thing. However, that won’t change my position. A number of false cases have been registered against me and my supporters. Not only Patidars, other communities are also facing problems under the BJP government. Even Muslims and Dalits attend my rallies.
There is a sense of frustration among youths of all communities in Gujarat. These youths want change. Of course, I have to play a role in it and I will. I am holding rallies across the state and this programme willcontinue.
Are you also in touch with Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani and is there a possibility of both of you coming together?
Our mission and objectives are the same. We have a common goal and who knows, going forward, we might join hands.