Gujarat, 3rd June 2022: Hardik Patel, the famous young Patidar leader of Gujarat, joined the BJP on Thursday. Hardik, who joined the Congress in 2019, resigned from the Congress on May 18 this year.
The BJP had to suffer a lot in the 2017 assembly elections due to the Patidar agitation. The Patidar population in Gujarat is believed to be close to 1.5 crores and they are believed to influence about 70 assembly seats. In such a situation, before the Gujarat Assembly elections, BJP has a huge chance to side the Patidar community with them through Hardik.
In the year 2015, the Patidar community in Gujarat was becoming vocal about the demand for OBC reservations. Meanwhile, a young Hardik Patel had formed the Patidar Anamat Andolan Committee to get an OBC reservation. The Patidar movement under Hardik’s leadership became so strong that lakhs of people started coming to its rallies and the BJP, which had been in power in Gujarat for more than two decades, was afraid of losing the elections.
The impact of this movement was also visible in the 2017 assembly elections. The BJP did win the assembly elections, but the party got 16 seats less than in the previous elections and could win only 99 seats. Hardik Patel gave his support to Congress in this election and Congress got 16 seats more than last time. Congress had won 77 seats during this period. This was the best election performance of Congress in Gujarat in 3 decades.
Patel joined the Congress just before the Lok Sabha elections in March 2019 and was made the working president of the party in Gujarat in July 2020. However, within two years, he resigned from the party accusing Congress of ignoring them and not consulting them in taking major decisions.
In such a situation, with the arrival of Hardik Patel, BJP can compensate for the loss in the 2017 assembly elections, because despite the displeasure, a large section of the Patidar community has been associated with the BJP. In such a situation, it is believed that the Patidars who had been away from the BJP will once again join the party with the arrival of Hardik.
The BJP leadership also sees Hardik as a weapon to counter Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). At the same time, the party is looking at Hardik as an influential leader. Some media reports have already said that this is the right time for the BJP to include Hardik in the party.