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‘Will become a dictator, another Dyer’ — What BJP entrant Hardik Patel once said about Modi, Shah

The Patidar leader quit the Congress on 18 May, slamming the party for playing obstructionist politics, & joined the BJP Thursday.

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New Delhi: Hours after joining the BJP, Gujarat Patidar leader and former Congressman Hardik Patel Thursday said he will work as a “small soldier” in the service of the nation, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Patel quit the Congress on 18 May, slamming the party for playing obstructionist politics and ignoring the interest of the people of Gujarat. But his relationship with the BJP has also been hostile in the past.

His effusive praise for Modi today shows the distance the 28-year-old leader has travelled in politics, since he spearheaded the Patidar reservation agitation in 2015, taking on the BJP-led government in Gujarat.

Patel supported the Congress in the 2017 assembly elections, joined the party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, and went on to become the working president of the state Congress.

During the Patidar agitation, Patel had constantly trained his guns at PM Modi, then BJP president Amit Shah and other party leaders.

“It is Modi’s habit to tell lies, speak it loudly and repeat it. All development claims being made by Modi are hollow. I feel ashamed to say that I am a Gujarati. There is corruption everywhere,” he had said.

Patel had even accused PM Modi of using Patidars for “orchestrating” the Gujarat riots in 2016.

“Development has not even taken birth in Gujarat. Saheb (Modi) talks of the Gujarat model. If that was the case, BJP would not have required leaders from other parts of the country to come and campaign in Gujarat,” Patel said during a rally in North Gujarat in 2017.

In 2016, Patel accused the BJP of offering him Rs 1,200 crore, via senior bureaucrat K. Kailashnathan, and the president’s post in Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha. “BJP wanted me to call off the quota stir, but I immediately rejected it,” said Patel.

In 2017, the Patidar leader had said at a conclave in Ahmedabad that he was determined to defeat the BJP in Gujarat.

He had also predicted that Modi would become a “dictator”. “He will become a dictator (Modi). After 2019, he will ensure there are no elections,” he had said during the Patidar agitation.

The former Congress leader had also referred to Shah as “General Dyer” for allegedly ordering the police to act firmly against Patidar agitators, which led to 14 deaths, in 2020.

When Patel was sentenced to a two-year jail term in connection with a rioting case in 2018, he had said that BJP’s “Hitlershai” cannot stop him from fighting for “truth, farmers, youth and poor”.

Before he joined the Congress in 2020, Patel had told a gathering in Ahmedabad that both BJP and the Congress behaved similarly. “Just remember one thing, we have to decimate those who have committed atrocities on us. I will not tell you who to vote for. Both the BJP and the Congress are the same. For them, the people are of no value”.


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Accused BJP of character assasination

In 2017, when some “intimate” clips allegedly showing Patel had surfaced, the Patidar leader accused the BJP of infringing on his privacy and threatened legal action against the party.

In 2019 again, when Shah took oath as the home minister, Patel had, in a now deleted tweet, said, “I congratulate Amit Shah for becoming the home minister. But some bhakts (BJP supporters) had messaged me, asking what would be my fate. The bhakts are very happy that Shah is now home minister. Will youth fighting against the BJP be killed? Things will happen according to God’s will….”

Patel had, last year, spoken about how he and the Congress party made former Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani leave the chair.

“We made the BJP nervous and it was because of our pressure that Rupani had to go. This clearly shows that Congress matters and we are powerful. And we will show in 2022 that we will matter,” he had said.

Regarding assembly elections in 2022, Patel had earlier said the BJP government failed to manage the Covid pandemic and unemployment rates. He also said people were “so angry they will throw out the BJP”.


Also read: ‘New India, heralding age of nari shakti’: Modi ministers mark 8 yrs of NDA with glowing op-eds


 

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