NEW DELHI: The Congress accused the BJP of playing vindictive politics after a Gujarat court issued a non-bailable warrant against Hardik Patel, who has emerged as the face of Patel community’s quota protests, and said the move was a symptom of undeclared emergency.
“Non-bailable warrant against Hardik is vindictive. Does the BJP plan to contest the elections by pressuring and threatening the young voices of Gujarat,” AICC general secretary in charge of Gujarat affairs Ashok Gehlot said.
“This is symptomatic of BJP’s undeclared emergency,” he said.
The Congress has been wooing Hardik in the hope of garnering the crucial Patel community votes in the assembly polls on December 9 and 14 for the 182 seat Gujarat assembly. The Patels are miffed with the BJP as their demand for quota in jobs and education was not met by the state government.
While Gehlot met Hardik in Ahmedabad on October 23, party managers are working to arrange a meeting of the community leader with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi in the coming weeks.
Gehlot charged that the non-bailable warrant for Hardik showed the BJP was fearing a defeat in the coming polls and thereforte taken the condemnable step.
“BJP should be ashamed of its dirty tactics,” said Gehlot, who had protested the search operations conducted by the state intelligence agencies in city hotels on Monday to locate Hardik, who has vowed to defeat the BJP.
“BJP is so under confident regarding the Gujarat polls that in their desperation they did everything undemocratic –used money power to buy support and ordered surveillance,” said Gehlot, referring to the claim by former Hardik aide Narendra that the BJP promised to give him Rs 1 crore to switch loyalties.
Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki claimed the Congress would win 125 seats and the BJP would not get beyond 50. There is widespread anger against the state government, he said.
Charging the EC delayed announcement of Gujarat poll dates to let PM Modi and the BJP announce schemes and launch projects, Gehlot said the people of the state are giggling over the reason cited by the poll panel, which said it did not want to hamper flood relief operations