The Gujarat Congress’ Working President Hardik Patel on Friday praised the Bharatiya Janata Party for its “terrific decision-taking” leadership and said that he has all options open, The Indian Express reported.
Patel lauded the BJP for the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the building of the Ram temple in Ayodhya in an interview with Divya Bhaskar. He described himself as a “proud Hindu”.
However, Patel said that he was not praising the saffron party because he was upset with the Congress.
To a question on whether he would cross over to the BJP, he said that he would do what he could to take Gujarat forward. “Many people link me with [Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind] Kejriwal,” he said. “The Congress, AAP, BJP...I have all options open.”
On April 14, the AAP’s Gujarat chief Gopal Italia had said that the party’s doors were open for Patel. However, the Congress leader had said at the time that he would not leave the party.
Later, speaking to the media in Ahmedabad, Patel had said that he was unhappy with the Congress’s state leadership but added that he was not upset with anyone personally.
“Instead of fulfilling its responsibility towards the welfare of people, I see the state leadership stuck in conflicts,” he added. “If someone speaks up for the welfare of the party, they start making predictions about the person, whether he intends to leave the party. They should rather sit down with that person and try to understand his problems, his thinking and vision for the party.”
However, in the interview with Dainik Bhaskar on Friday, he denied that he was joining the BJP. “One cannot engage in politics without praising one’s enemy,” he said. “One should keep an eye on the enemy’s every move.”
Nevertheless, the BJP’s state president CR Paatil said that he applauded Patel’s courage and that he was happy to hear what he had to say about the saffron party, according to The New Indian Express.
“Hardik Patel has praised the BJP’s performance,” he said. “Many Congress leaders want to do the same but do not dare. Hardik has dared.”
Patel’s praise for the BJP came ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections, which are likely to be held towards the end of this year.