The latest surprising BJP ally in Gujarat is Hardik Patel. Yes the same Hardik Patel who was the strongest anti BJP voice in 2017 assembly elections.
‘There are no permanent friends or enemies in politics’. True to this saying, Hardik Patel has decided to help BJP behind the scenes. For this, Hardik Patel is joining hands with Shankar Sinh Vaghela and NCP. An announcement is very likely soon. Vaghela who quit Congress before 2017 elections, attacks BJP openly now but his strategic usefulness is the old tried and tested formula of splitting votes by Modi-Shah. Acting as B-Team of BJP, Vaghela will help make sure crumbling BJP votes don’t go to Congress. Vaghela speaks against BJP but it’s a known fact that any third party in Gujarat ultimately helps BJP in elections.
Vaghela is likely to join NCP soon. His son Mahendra Sinh too quit BJP couple of months ago. Mahendra Sinh was reportedly considering joining NCP at the time and has been involved in backchannel talks with the party. Both father and son know very well Shankar Sinh’s Jan Vikalp Party didn’t fare well in 2017 elections and they need a better table as well as funds. Vaghela for now is demanding 6 seats. If he gets them, obviously Congress will be 6 less which Congress isn’t ready to.
On the other hand BJP knows Vaghela is a spent force so they needed another strong vote splitter. Hardik Patel has proven his mettle damaging BJP in 2017 elections. So now Hardik Patel has been slowly convinced to be a pawn in the larger game of polling. Hardik has had a series of meetings with NCP leaders which he has been denying. But then he always denied meeting Rahul Gandhi too before 2017 poll. Congress did get Hardik Patel’s help in 2017 and gave tickets to names Hardik presented. But gradually Hardik’s demands are increasing. Hardik wanted 12 tickets in MP which Congress refused. This resulted in distance between Hardik and Congress. So now Hardik Patel is pitted against Congress. Hardik’s closeness with Congress resulted in many of his previous Patidar agitation allies deserting him
Now Hardik Patel is ready to unveil his new game plan where he along with Vaghela will oppose BJP openly. But, will field Parliamentary candidates and hurt Congress. An indication of this is Hardik Patel’s moving residence. Hardik is vacating his Ahmedabad bungalow and shifting in to Shankar Sinh Vaghela’s son Bharat Sinh’s Gandhinagar bungalow. The bungalow is being prepared and Bharat Sinh’s name plate will be replaced with Chhatrapati Niwas (Hardik Patel)
This latest summersault of Hardik will definitely surprise and upset his supporters. But, most leaders of last major agitation in Gujarat (Navnirman Students Agitation) were accommodated in Govt later. Most agitations begin with good intentions about reforms but as soon as popularity and its benefits surface, leaders of movements become victims of greed and get lured in to political gamesmanship. Hardik Patel is no exception.