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Odishatv Bureau

Former Congress leader Hardik Patel will join the BJP on June 2 in the presence of Gujarat party president C R Paatil, a state party spokesperson said on Tuesday.

After Patidar quota agitation leader Patel recently resigned from the Congress, there were speculations that he may join the ruling BJP. He had praised the BJP's decision-making capacity and style of functioning, while severely criticising the Congress leadership.

"It is confirmed that Hardik Patel will join the BJP on June 2 in the presence of state president C R Paatil," BJP's state spokesperson Yagnesh Dave said.

Patel had joined the Congress in 2019.

Before quitting the Congress earlier this month, Patel wrote a scathing letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, claiming the Congress "only played the role of a roadblock" over certain key issues in the country and was "merely reduced to opposing everything".

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ahead will be bumpy as he has to address pending issues of the community and ensure that cases against Patidars are withdrawn."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.

(Inputs from PTI and IANS)

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