NEW DELHI: Hours after he hinted at supporting Congress in upcoming Gujarat assembly elections, Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Sunday turned down Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi's invitation for a meeting.
Rahul had invited Hardik for a meeting on Monday. In a conversation with ABP News Hardik said he will not meet Rahul on Monday.
Earlier in the day, Hardik had hinted at supporting Congress against the ruling BJP in upcoming assembly elections. While talking to ABP News, Hardik said people should bring Congress to power to shatter BJP's arrogance.
"Congress has invited me to join them. In Indian tradition we accept invitations but to go or not to go, depends upon us. I told them I cannot contest elections," Patel said.
"We are fighting against those who committed atrocities against us, made our youth jobless and forced farmers to commit suicide. We are fighting against BJP and have only one party in opposition and that's Congress. If Congress wants to work for people and development of state, people should think about it," firebrand Patidar leader said.
Hardik said that people in Gujarat still remember Congress as a party which was not 'cruel' to the people of the state.
"In Congress, there's democracy. You have the right to protest, to come on roads. I feel if there's any party against BJP, it's Congress. If Congress has the solution to the problems of the people of Gujarat, people will bring it to power," he said.
When asked if he is willing to join Congress, Hardik said he does not hate or love the grand old party but to oust "arrogant" BJP from ruling the state, Congress should be brought back to power.
"Though Congress has been out of power for over 22 years but during its rule there was no corruption in the state. Now it should make a comeback," he said.
Congress had on Saturday invited the fiery trio of Hardik Patel, Thakor community leader Alpesh Thakor and dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to join hands with the party to defeat the ruling BJP.
Thakor, who has emerged as a strong OBC leader, announced that he will join Congress after meeting with Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi.
With Alpesh joining Congress and Hardik hinting at supporting the grand old party, political equations in Gujarat are bound to change.
Thakor emerged as the face of the OBC community that represents at least 20-22% of the state's population while Patidars represents 12-13% of the population of Gujarat.
Congress is looking forward to create a political space for itself in prime minister Narendra Modi's home state by trying to win Patidars and OBC voters.