Hardik’s Predica­ment

The rebel Pati­dar leader may be run­ning out of op­tions

India Today - - STATES - By Uday Mahurkar

With barely 10 months to go for the assem­bly elec­tions in Gu­jarat, Hardik Patel, the young Pati­dar quota ag­i­ta­tion leader who made waves in 2015, has come to a point where he has to make his po­lit­i­cal choices clear. And his cho­sen course will be key to both the fate of the Pa­tels’ quota de­mand and to his own po­lit­i­cal fu­ture.

The align­ments he has stitched up till now, like with Shiv Sena chief Ud­dhav Thack­eray, are un­likely to aid Hardik’s ob­jec­tive of carv­ing an elec­toral niche for him­self as the leader of the state’s af­flu­ent Patel com­mu­nity.

Mean­while, the BJP is be­ing very cau­tious in its re­sponse to Hardik’s re­newed threat of a Pati­dar ag­i­ta­tion. In­cum­bent CM Vi­jay Ru­pani is play­ing a wait­ing game, hop­ing to wear Hardik down. He has also in­vited him for talks, aware that alien­at­ing the Patel youth would have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for the BJP in the com­ing polls. The Pati­dars, af­ter all, have long been the po­lit­i­cal back­bone of the saf­fron party.

THE AG­I­TA­TORS Hardik meets the Thack­er­ays in Mumbai

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