If the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) believes in a “two engined sarkar”, then its first entrant and face of Patel agitation Hardik goes one step ahead – “the necessity of a three engined sarkar”. “Not only in the state or the centre, even at the grassroots level like constituencies, voters have to rest their trust in the BJP to get benefits from development,” said Hardik Patel in an exclusive interview with News18.
A lot of water has flown by from 2015 to 2022 for Patel, who chooses to forego the Patidar agitation that greatly captured the youth’s imagination. He assures the unconditional support of the Patel community to the BJP in this election. “The entire Patel community, crossing regions, will rally behind the BJP in the upcoming election… It was a divided house then, in 2017, but this election, the entire community in the state is behind the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Patel said.
Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is also testing this election in Gujarat, hopes to make an impression, but the youth leader refuses to acknowledge their presence on the ground. “There is no third party influence in Gujarat. It’s election time. Every party has the right to fight and people hear them, but that doesn’t mean it translates into votes,” Patel said.
Patel reiterated that he will be the youngest MLA in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha and said his area of focus would be development work in Viramgam, the constituency from where he fights. “There has been a congressional MLA here and there has been no development in the past 10 years. When I say triple engine, I mean representatives of the ruling party at all levels,” he said.
You were the face of the Patidar agitation. What is the experience of political activity with the BJP?
In Gujarat, the elections are not just about Patels. People from every caste put their trust in the BJP. This belief is for development and vision. The BJP, especially Prime Minister Narendra bhai Modi, has a vision for the country. Why should people team up with parties that have no vision? The Prime Minister when he was the CM of Gujarat used to do politics with a vision and he has continued to do so even after he became Prime Minister… that’s why people like him so much.
I think Rahul Gandhi should come [here to campaign]. When he comes, we take advantage. Because when people who have no vision for Gujarat speak on behalf of the state, they are exposed. People then come to know who to go to… The entire Patel community, spread across regions, will rally behind the BJP in the upcoming election. Main ghar ka ladka hoon. Main hi taklif samajhta hoon, kaam ka ladka hoon
But you have been in Congress and praised it and spoke against the BJP… How has it been received by people?
When the decision was made, the circumstances were different. When I entered politics, I realized it was wrong… Congress was against Gujarat’s gaurav and his asmita. I am standing with the Prime Minister today to fight for Gujarat’s asmita.
READ ALSO | PM Modi’s ‘5G’: The ‘5 goals’ scored for BJP in 8 Gujarat rallies over range of issues | Explained
There are many youth members of BJP who have protested against you in the Patidar movement. How did you get them on board?
There is no problem at all. The BJP was my father’s karmabhoomi. I have no problem understanding the game.
What is the percentage of Patidars in your constituency?
As a candidate, I do not participate in caste politics. Every caste is important to me. In the elections you have to include every caste and you cannot do politics of only one caste.
READ ALSO | Housewives to Kingmakers: Can Dairy Women Bring BJP to Gujarat Throne?
What are your promises to voters in your constituency?
They are all local problems. The Congress has been present in this constituency for the past 10 years and has damaged Viramgam. There is no development here. I need to provide hospital and colleges, water supply in few areas, etc.
How do you feel when Rahul Gandhi comes here to campaign?
(laughs) I think he should come. When he comes, we take advantage. Because when people who have no vision for Gujarat speak on behalf of the state, they are exposed. People then know who to turn to.
But aren’t your village people mad at you for changing political parties?
Absolutely not, ghar ka ladka hoon. Head hi taklif samajhta hoon. Ghar ka ladka hoon, kaam ka ladka hoon (I am from this village and I know the problems. I will work for them).
Read all the latest political news here