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Hardik likely to join BJP on June 2: Sources (Ld)

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Ahmedabad, May 31 (Ajit Weekly News) Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener and former Gujarat Congress working president Hardik Patel is likely to join BJP on Thursday, as per sources.

Though neither Patel nor the BJP has confirmed it officially, the sources said that he has sent messages to reporters informing them about the development.

Last week, in an interview to a national news channel, Hardik Patel had dropped hints about joining the saffron party on May 31. But when no such event took place, the mediapersons started inquiring about it.

At this, Patel has left messages to them saying that he is going to join the BJP on June 2, at the party state headquarters Kamalam in Gandhinagar in presence of state unit president C.R Patil. Along with him, some 1,000 to 1,500 supporters are likely to switch over.

When Ajit Weekly News tried to get confirmation from the BJP spokespersons or media coordinators, their only response was: “We don’t have any instruction from the party leadership.”

Reacting to this development, PAAS leader Alpesh Kathiriya said: “I got to learn about it from the media. Hardik has not spoken to me regarding this. I wish him all the luck for the new journey, but the road ahead will be bumpy as he has to address pending issues of the community and ensure that cases against Patidars are withdrawn.”

Calling him an “opportunist”, Sardar Patel Group leader Lalji Patel said that because of Hardik Patel, those leading the Patidar movement were targetted by the community members, when he joined Congress. Now that he is likely to join the BJP, leaders will have to face more problems, he added.

Political analyst Hari Desai opined that it is going to be a tight rope walk for Hardik in BJP and wondered whether he will enjoy the same power and importance in BJP as it already has several stalwart Patidar leaders.

Another important factor which might not work in his favour is that the BJP has not invited him to join the party, it was his desire. This was apparent from party general secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela’s recent statement: “Neither the party has approached Hardik Patel, nor has he contacted the leaders to join us.”

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