BMC Polls 2017: Hardik Patel extends a hand of friendship to Uddhav Thackeray

Hardik Patel, the face of reservation politics in Gujarat, comes down to forge a poll-timed friendship with Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray

Hardik Patel with Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in Bandra yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Hardik Patel with Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s residence Matoshree in Bandra yesterday. Pic/Nimesh Dave

In an attempt to woo the Gujarati community, Shiv Sena brought in a rising political star from the state – Hardik Patel. The 23-year-old, who was the face of the Patidar reservation agitation in Gujarat, came down to Mumbai yesterday afternoon to meet Sena supremo Uddhav Thackeray at Matoshree. Their ‘friendship’ is to persuade two lakh Patidar Patels, which account for 10 per cent of the 22 lakh Gujaratis in Mumbai to vote for the Sena in the upcoming BMC elections.

When asked about a probable alliance in the future, Thackeray nodded in acceptance. “We have started contesting elections in states other than Maharashtra and Hardik will be a strong nominee against BJP. But that is for later, this meeting was not political.”

Patel, who denied any kind of political agenda or any leaning arising from the idiom, ‘enemies of enemies are bound to be friends’, said the meeting was only to take blessings from the Thackeray family. “I’m only 23 years old. I’m here because they [the Thackerays] are doing good work, not because they represent a particular party.”

Give and take
Biren Limbachiya, Sena candidate from Goregaon, with whom Hardik is likely to campaign before the polls differs on talks of an alliance. He said, “There is no alliance between us. It’s like a give and take relationship. If there is anything wrong that happens in Gujarat, we will be there for him, like he is here for us.”

Hemraj Shah, of the Bruhad Gujarati Samaj, said, “There is no doubt about his presence in Gujarat. Every person who hates BJP is going to support Hardik. However, we wouldn’t want to place any bets yet. We will wait and see what happens in the coming days.”

The problem with Hardik
Raju Limbani, member of the Mira Road Saurashtra Patel Samaj said,“Though we are supportive of Hardik, his political inclinations have become a problem. His views on the poor Patel families deserving reservation are true, but this meeting with Sena leaders might make people withdraw their support from Hardik.”

Hemant Patel, a Lower Parel resident said, “We support Hardik for his concern for the community. However, politicising the entire thing has kept many of us questioning whether the move is going to be of any help.”

2 Lakh
Number of Patidar Patels in Mumbai

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