Hardik asks sulking Gujarat Deputy CM to quit, join Congress

Gujarat Deputy CM Nitin Patel (File Photo)

Gandhinagar, Dec 30 (IANS) Even as Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Saturday continued to sulk over not being given key portfolios in the new Council of Ministers, Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel asserted that he should leave the BJP and join the Congress party.

“I and my supporters are prepared to talk to the Congress leadership to welcome Nitin Patel in the party if he and 10 other MLAs are willing to resign and come,” Hardik Patel told reporters in Ahmedabad.

“If the BJP can’t take care of a senior leader like Nitin Patel who has spent many years in building the party, and must be respected, if they can’t, Nitin Patel should leave the party,” the firebrand leader, whose reservation movement caused a major dent in the ruling party’s electoral prospects in the just concluded assembly elections, said.

He claimed he was willing to recommend to the Congress leadership to “accommodate Nitinbhai in a senior position” in the party and that he should come with “at least 10 MLAs”.

The Patidar leader also exhorted BJP’s Patel leaders to back the Deputy Chief Minister.

“If the BJP is not respecting Patels, then they should leave the party and should accompany Nitin Patel,” Hardik Patel said.

The Deputy Chief Minister has been sulking after the key Finance, Urban Development and Petrochemicals portfolios were snatched away from him to accommodate Saurabh Patel, who was dropped in the previous Vijay Rupani government. Rupani has retained Urban Development with himself, while giving away Finance and Petrochemicals to Saurabh Patel.

Miffed over this, Nitin Patel kept away from office in the Sachivalaya in Gandhinagar on Friday while all his newly-inducted colleagues took charge. Amid speculation that he may even resign from the party, the Deputy Chief Minister did not even use his official vehicle and escort.