Former Congress leader from Gujarat Hardik Patel will join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on June 2, news agency ANI reported on May 31. Patel had quit the Congress party earlier this month.
The 28-year-old Patidar leader will be inducted in the BJP at an event in Ghandinagar in presence of Gujarat unit president CR Patil, sources said.
Hardik Patel to join BJP on 2nd June - he confirms to ANI. He had recently quit Congress. pic.twitter.com/xtgGjQ9hhm
— ANI (@ANI) May 31, 2022
Patel's exit from the Congress was expected as he had been publicly criticising the central and state leadership of the party for over a month. Announcing his decision to quit Congress party on Twitter with a resignation letter marked to party president Sonia Gandhi on May 18, Patel, said he was “gathering the courage to resign from the Congress party and post”.
Patel, who rose to prominence in 2015 when he spearheaded a powerful agitation for quotas in jobs and education for his Patidar caste, had maintained that he would not quit the Congress until he tweeted his resignation letter on May 18. He had also been saying he will not join the BJP.
READ | Gujarat leader Hardik Patel resigns: Congress's loss is BJP's gain in poll year?
Patel’s exit is a big loss for the Congress party in poll year, especially after setbacks in recent assembly elections in five states. The resignation came just a day after the Congress’s three-day brainstorming session "Chintan Shivir" in Udaipur that he reportedly skipped.
Patel is considered the face of the Patidar community, which has been a staunch supporter of the BJP. In the 2017 assembly polls, Patel was said to have played a key role in helping the Congress win 77 seats and restrict the BJP to 99 in the 182-member house.
Since then, however, the Congress has lost 14 lawmakers to the BJP due to defections and defeats in by polls. The Congress currently has 63 legislators in the assembly.
Patel's entry into the BJP was imminent. His resignation letter indicated he might join the BJP. The Bhupendra Patel-led BJP government in the state has already moved to have cases registered against Patel in 2015 during the Patidar quota agitation dismissed.
Also read | Congress' Chintan Shivir | Hindutva to leadership issues, some unanswered questions remain
On May 9, the Ahmedabad court allowed the state government to withdraw criminal cases against Patel. He has also got a reprieve in the sedition case filed against him in 2015 as the Supreme Court has stayed proceedings in all sedition cases.
Gujarat goes to assembly polls later this year.