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In Gujarat, Hardik Patel lauds BJP for Ram Mandir, Article 370

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New Delhi, Apr 22: Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel on Friday praised the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), saying that the BJP is strong because it has politicians with leadership qualities.

Hardik Patel

Hardik praised the BJP-led central government for some of their initiatives, including the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the historic formation of Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

"I am not talking to BJP. I accept the good things of the BJP. BJP repealed Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, and now good deeds like the construction of Ram Mandir should be commended," he stated.

However, Hardik Patel quashed the claims of him being in talks with the saffron party and joining it before polls.

"I've no plans to join BJP. I welcome the political decisions that have been taken by BJP recently. The party is strong in Gujarat as they have leadership with decision-making abilities... I hope the high command will listen to me," he said.

Hardik had expressed displeasure over the state Congress's "style of functioning", claiming that he was sidelined in the state unit and the leadership is not willing to utilise his skills. He had expressed his grouse a day after he hinted at contesting elections after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in a 2015 rioting and arson case.

Patel had attained prominence when he spearheaded the Patidar community's campaign in Gujarat in 2015 seeking reservations under the OBC category. However, his popularity shrank after he joined the Congress in 2019 as he had earlier promised that he would never enter politics.

Although the Congress benefited due to quota agitation in the 2017 state assembly elections, the Patidar community did not support the party in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls or subsequent municipal or panchayat elections after Patel joined it.

The Congress's plan to rope in chairman of the Khodaldham Temple Trust Naresh Patel, a prominent Patidar face, ahead of 2022 state polls has apparently angered Hardik, who believes that his clout as Patidar leader will be finished if Naresh Patel joins the Congress party.

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