AHMEDABAD: Congress leader Hardik Patel on Saturday called for a need to "rekindle conscience of the people of Gujarat" to fight against the ruling BJP which has "failed" to resolve issues concerning farmers and youths.
Patel said those who do not speak out against the ruling party are "impotent". "Despite the BJP getting 26 out of 26 seats (in Lok Sabha election in Gujarat), the problems of farmers, youth and hefty education fees persist. We will have to do something, we will have to continue our agitation, and this is why we will have to rekindle conscience in the people of Gujarat," he said while addressing a gathering at town hall in Gandhinagar on the occasion of his 26th birthday.
Senior Congressman Shaktisinh Gohil and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh were present on the occasion. "Nobody is ready to speak in Gujarat. If one does, he could be sent to jail or defamed. But we have decided that we will speak out. We will have to continue our fight against the BJP," the quota spearhead said.
Patel recalled that he was advised by some people to join the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections. "I used to tell them that those who do not speak against the BJP are 'namard' (impotent)," he said.
Patel had led a violent agitation of Patidars to demand quota in government jobs and education in the year 2015. He joined the Congress earlier this year.
Gohil said the young people of Gujarat, which is the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, have somewhere "lost their conscience to Whatsapp, social media and managed media". "Defeat and victory should not disappoint us. Those who take wrong path win only initially. Today's EVM and 'Shakuni' of the time of Mahabharata are not different. 'Pandavs' continued to face defeat. But in the end 'Satyamev Jayate'," he said.
Gohil attacked the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh for detaining Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra "for raising her voice against the killings of ten people". "The conscience of Gujarat will oppose such (anti- democratic) tendencies," he said.
AAP leader Singh attacked the Modi government over its "failed promises" and said the BJP managed to win the elections by dividing the country on communal lines. "Today people doubt whether the Lok Sabha results were due to blessings of the EVMs. Today, farmers are not getting the income that is one and a half times the input cost. Youths are suffering because of unemployment," Singh said, adding that even impartiality of media has come under cloud.