Patidar leader from Gujarat, Hardik Patel, joined BJP.

Hardik Patel images

The Patidar leader from Gujarat, Hardik Patel, donned the saffron cap with the lotus when joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. Hardik Patel was welcomed into the party fold in Ahmedabad by state BJP president CR Patil and senior leader Nitin Patel. However, central and state ministers were conspicuous by their absence. Even Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel gave Hardik’s joining a miss. Hardik’s induction into the party aims to woo the Patidar voters in Gujarat in the assembly polls slated for December this year. Before his induction into the BJP, Hardik Patel performed puja at the Swaminarayan Temple. In the 2017 assembly polls, the BJP faced a triumvirate of troubles, including Hardik Patel of the powerful restive Patidar army. Jignesh Mewani of the Dalit brigade and Alpesh Thakore, who led the OBC infantry. Congress’ own Rahul Gandhi had charged the BJP’s Hindutva citadel with his “Janeaudhari Brahmin” missile. The BJP won in 2017, but the result caused a scare.

In July 2020, Hardik Patel, barely 27-years-old, became the youngest leader in the Congress to lead the party’s state unit in Gujarat.

In July 2020, Hardik Patel, barely 27-years-old, became the youngest leader in the Congress to lead the party’s state unit in Gujarat. The elevation of the young leader who burst into the limelight in 2015 during the Patidar quota agitation marked the beginning of hope for Congress. After seven years of a tumultuous journey, Patel will travel into the BJP. Many say that the BJP could have found its leader for tomorrow- more enigmatic and appealing to the masses than anyone in the party after Narendra Modi.

Hardik hails from a Patidar dominated village of farmers Chandan Nagri, in Viramgam taluka of Ahmedabad district. His primary schooling was in his village, but as his parents realised the need for better education, they moved to Viramgam. His school and village friends recall that he was a fierce orator from childhood. The speed at which life has moved for Hardik can be gauged. That was barely 12-years ago, and he joined the Sahajanand college in Ahmedabad, from where he completed his graduation. The political bug had bitten by then, and he contested the college students union election and was chosen the general secretary. His trademark was powerful speeches and challenges thrown at the establishment. At 20, Hardik Patel organised a Sardar Patel Group (SPG), based in Mehsana in north Gujarat. It was headed by Lalji Patel, who realised Hardik’s potential, and a mentor-protege relationship emerged.

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