The Congress may be staring at another high-profile exit ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections as disgruntled leader Hardik Patel has removed the party’s name from his Twitter bio. The ‘hand’ symbol of the Grand Old Party has also been removed from the Twitter bio.
This comes amid mounting speculation about his next political move after he launched a scathing attack on the state party leadership and praised the ruling BJP.
The removal comes days after Hardik Patel expressed strong displeasure over the functioning of the Gujarat Congress and claimed he was being “sidelined” and “harassed” in the party.
A Gujarat Congress spokesperson asserted Hardik Patel was still with the opposition party. The latest move by the 28-year-old firebrand Patidar leader has sparked speculation that he may leave the Congress ahead of the Assembly polls due by the year-end.
Hardik Patel described himself as a “Proud Indian patriot” in his new profile on Twitter uploaded on Monday. He has also described himself as a “social and political activist” on the popular micro-blogging platform.
However, his timeline of posts shows in the morning he had re-tweeted one tweet of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on how the Modi government has “ruined” the economy. The Gujarat Congress, however, said Hardik Patel has not left the party.
“He is still with the party, he has not left the party,” state Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
Hardik Patel has expressed his displeasure with the state Congress leadership on multiple occasions in the last over one month. The influential Patidar leader has claimed he was being “harassed” by some state leaders who were conspiring against him and wanted him to leave the party.
Countering this stand of Hardik Patel, Congress sources had said he was unhappy with the party as it was trying to bring influential Patidar social leader Naresh Patel into its fold. Hardik Patel thinks his importance as a key Patidar community leader will diminish if Naresh Patel joins the Congress, they had said.
Hardik Patel came into limelight after he led the Patidar quota stir in 2015. Last month, he had praised the ruling BJP for its “decision-making capacity”. However, despite his public promise of not entering politics, he joined the Congress in 2019 and was appointed a working president of the state unit in July 2020.
Despite his presence in the Congress, the Patidars did not vote for the party in large numbers in the local body polls held after 2019, indicating his popularity was on the wane.