Hardik fails to declare direct support to Cong

Hardik fails to declare direct support to Cong

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel finally broke his silence at a rally in Tragad, an hour's drive from Ahmedabad.

Hardik, however, fell short of saying direct "support" that would have come as music to the Congress's ears.

Hardik, who has been quiet for the last 48 hours, was expected to announce his support for the Congress as it had relented to PAAS's pressure and changed as many as five of the 89 candidates who would try their luck at the hustings in the first phase of Assembly polls in Gujarat on December 9.

The only saving grace for the Congress was that Hardik continued with his tirade against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and the ruling party.

"I say it openly that we are fighting against the BJP and shall defeat the BJP," he told an impressive audience that had gathered to listen to him.

"People in India and across the globe wrongly believe that we Gujaratis are clever as we are from the business community. But the fact is we are not...The only thing left now is to write on our forehead – I am not clever," Hardik said in reference to over two-and-a-half decade rule of one party in the state.

"The 182 legislators are not at fault and neither is the CM or the PM. It is us, who elect such donkeys as leaders," Hardik said.

Though Hardik said that he did not oppose Modi in his personal capacity, he had some harsh words for the prime minister.

"He will become a dictator. After 2019, he will ensure that there are no elections," Hardik said.

"He (PM) shouted in UP that he will give 24-hour electricity in Gujarat but never did…He has used us across the country... He is wrong, wrong and wrong. So I will fight him," the Patel quota stir leader said.

On the issue of development, Hardik claimed that it was "not even born" in Gujarat.

He said that rising unemployment, rising cost of education, lack of adequate health facilities and infrastructure in rural areas were examples and linked it to "privatisation" drive in Gujarat.

"They ask me why do we need reservation? There are no jobs. What would you do after your child completes studies? Send them to Ford or Nano? Even there outsiders are given a chance. Not us," he said.

On quotas, Hardik said that he never opposed or sought benefits extended to SCs and STs or the OBCs. "What we have asked for are benefits similar to the OBCs," he added.

 

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