Hardik Patel: Will not offer Rs 15L to people for votes

Hardik Patel. DH photo

“I will go to the people of Gujarat as a Congress leader with message of love and harmony and will assure hope that no one will scare or threaten them for speaking their mind or raising their voice if the party comes to power. I will bring non political people to Congress's events and expose them to its achievement of last 60 years. I will tell people that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deceived them but another son of this soil is ready to fight for them. We are not going to offer Rs 15 lakh like Modi did for votes but will ask people what do they want and then we will try to fulfill it.”

Three days after he joined Congress party in the presence of senior party leaders led by its president Rahul Gandhi in Gandhinagar, 25-year-old Hardik Patel in a free-wheeling conversation with Deccan Herald said that he is ready to fight against the BJP and would accept any role the party offers him. As Hardik awaits for a responsibility from the Congress, he is trying to unite those activists who helped him during the Patidar reservation agitation. He said that on 17th March, nearly 3000 Patidar activists will be meeting called "Sneh Milan" to chalk out plans for upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“There are many reasons why I chose Congress. It is a party that doesn’t scare you or threaten you if you raise your voice against its leaders. Look at the contradictions in the BJP-ruled states. I was booked in sedition case, remained in jail for nine months. Even after three-and-a-half year, I cannot go to Mehsana which is my second home. I am facing these restriction only because I fight for people.” he says.

When asked what makes Congress different from BJP, he said, “BJP is a party that is full of hatred. Congress doesn’t do this. Everyone has a right to dissent or speak his or her mind. In BJP government you can't speak freely,” Hardik told this paper while sitting on a cot outside a farm house in the outskirts of Ahmedabad.  

 Hardik believes that Congress has done a lot of work in the country in the past 60 years. He said that this election, he would go to villages and cities telling people about achievements of his party. He says, “It is wrong to say that Modi brought electricity everywhere in just five years. This kind of marketing for votes is bad. Who got AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Services) IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) in the country? I want to ask how many schools and hospitals did BJP come up with in 28 years of its rule in Gujarat.”

 “There are so many issues in Gujarat like a new bench of Gujarat High Court should be established in Rajkot since people from Saurashtra have to travel 400 km to reach Ahmedabad. Then there are issues of drought, farm distress and unemployment which is troubling a large population in the state," he said. 

 When this paper asked him how will he counter the prime minister Narendra Modi's popularity, he said, "There is a lot of things to tell people. What do think of a prime minister who comes to inaugurate a 6 km-long metro train so hurriedly. This is nothing but marketing."  

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Hardik Patel: Will not offer Rs 15L to people for votes

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