Hardik Patel, who has been spearheading the Patidar quota agitation, has urged the community not to vote for the BJP even if his father is fielded by the party in the upcoming Assembly elections in the state, according to the Indian Express. During a three-day Sankalp yatra, which he launched to press the reservation demand, Patel said, “It is our duty to liberate our community which has been enslaved for the last 25 years. The post-Godhra riots of 2002 were between Hindus and Muslims. But as a matter of fact, 140 Patidars are serving life imprisonment even today… They (BJP) have only exploited our votes and notes (money) and gave nothing in return, ” as per The Indian Express.
Addressing the Patidar community at Ajab village in Keshod taluka of Junagadh district, he said, “The election is around the corner. They (BJP) will give you many lollipops. Some will even come to buy you. But don’t vote even for my father, Bharat Patel, if he fights election from Keshod as a BJP candidate,” according to IE. The 24-year-old leader said the agitation has been going on for the last two-and-a-half years and the BJP has threatened to file many cases. “But we have always maintained that we are ready if you want to fight legally, and also if you want to fight by gundagardi (hooliganism). Let us, we Patidars and other communities, get together and remove those who are behaving like dictators and goons,” he was quoted as saying by IE.
He also hit out at the Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP in the recent Rajya Sabha election. You would be wondering how a man who would come to your village and deliver speech could get himself sold for Rs 15 crore. They had just 300 supporters and still got Rs 15 crore.” he said. Later Hardik also garlanded a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar in the town and urged other communities to join the Patidars in ousting the BJP from power, the report said.