New Delhi: Gujarat leader Hardik Patel continued his rant against the Congress Thursday – a day after he quit the party – berating its leaders for not allowing “the truth” to be spoken in its upper circles.
“Speak the truth in the Congress, and big leaders will defame you. That is their strategy,” the patidar leader said in Ahmedabad.
Patel, who rose to prominence in the 2015 agitation for reservation, said “whether it was the patidar community or any other community… they have all suffered in the Congress”.
Patel said he was not the only leader who was angry with the Congress. “There are many leaders and legislators who just use the Congress. Sitting in power and praising the party does not mean that the party will make them the chief minister,” he said.
Patel complained he had been ignored by the top leadership when he tried to discuss his home state’s problems. “I had spoken to Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi about Gujarat. He asked me and I told him. And that is when I was ignored,” the disgruntled leader said, adding, “Seven to eight people have run the party for the last 33 years.”
In a caustic resignation letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, Patel said leaders were “more focused on their mobile phones and other things” whenever he tried to raise the issues of Gujarat.
He wrote that while party workers like him travelled 500 to 600 kilometres a day to attend important meetings, senior politicians were only worried about whether a leader from Delhi had been served his chicken sandwich on time.
The Congress hit back after the resignation, accusing Patel of “singing the BJP’s tune”.
Gujarat Congress in-charge Raghu Sharma accused Patel of indulging in “back door dealings” with other parties.
Sharma said, “Hardik indulged in the politics of dishonesty and cheating. Congress made him a star campaigner during the Assembly polls in five states. He used to criticise the BJP in his speeches. What has changed suddenly? He was in touch with BJP for the last six years to withdraw the cases against him.”
Hardik Patel has been arrested previously for sedition after violence broke out during the August 2015 agitation. He is now out on bail.
Patel is the latest Congress leader to leave the party. Those who recently quit include veterans like former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, Amarinder Singh, Ashwani Kumar and RPN Singh.