Congress extends an olive branch to Hardik, but he is jittery

New Delhi, Oct 21: In a major development in Gujarat, keeping in view the forthcoming elections, the Congress has extended an olive branch to firebrand Patidar leader Hardik Patel.

"If Hardik Patel wants to contest election, then Congress invites him to do so," said Bharat Solanki, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee President.

Hardik Patel on Sunday had asserted that he was determined to work for the defeat of the BJP in the upcoming assembly elections in Gujarat.

"Constitutionally speaking, I can't contest election and I don't need to, in the first place, " responed Hardik Patel adding, "Although I believe we must unite against BJP, this isn't a BJP-Congress election but of 6 crore people of Gujarat."

"I am not working for the victory of the opposition Congress, but am committed to the legitimate rights of my community," Patel said at a conclave.

"If the Congress party wins, it will be a vote against dictatorship."

Asked why he was shying away from saying that his Patidar movement was for the Congress, Patel said: "I have said earlier too that my fight is not for or against any political party, but against the system, against those who want to crush my democratic right to speak up for my rights."

"If the BJP agrees to give what we are demanding I will wrap up the agitation but not otherwise," he said, adding that their agitation will continue even if the Congress comes to power.

Asked what if the BJP came back to power, a smiling Patel said: "Wait till December (when the Gujarat elections are due)."

He also asserted that he and his supporters "are neither slaves of BJP, nor Congress".

He however also that maintained that "even now, if the BJP convinces us that it can give us reservation in accordance with the Constitution, we will end our movement. And if it does not, our movement will continue".

News24Bureau with Agencies