Describing the Congress and the Trinamool Congress as the two biggest opposition parties currently in the country, Patidar quota activist Hardik Patel on Friday opined West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should lead the opposition.
Patel, who met Banerjee at the state secretariat in Kolkata on Friday night, also said she invited him to joined the TMC and manage its affairs in Gujarat, from where he hails.
“At the moment, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress are the two big opposition parties in the country. But, if Didi (as Banerjee is lovingly called) or the Congress and other parties sit together and decide something, that will be good.
“But if you ask my personal opinion, I will say she is an intelligent woman who has a history of being a revolutionary leader and she should come forward to be the leader (of opposition parties),” he said after the hour-and-half long meeting.
“But for those who are against her, it will be a matter of tension.”
He described the chief minister as “lady Gandhi”. “I saw lady Gandhi. She is a simple and selfless person. After Indira Gandhi, she has been the epitome of struggle for the cause of the people,” he said.
Patel said he invited Banerjee to visit Gujarat for women empowerment. “She had done great work during the earthquake in Bhuj 2001.”
Asked about the purpose of the meeting, Patel said he was here to seek blessings of Banerjee. “I have not come for any political reasons,” he said.
Patel also said Banerjee invited him to join the TMC and manage its affairs in Gujarat.
“She has openly told me that whenever I want to join politics the door of TMC is open for me and you can manage the party in Gujarat. But I told her I do not have political aspiration now. But if I decide to join politics, I would definitely seek her advice,” Patel said.
Enquired about his role during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the Patidar quota agitation leader said he would definitely come to West Bengal to campaign for the TMC.
“There are so many Gujaratis and people from the Kurmi community in West Bengal. Didi has sent a recommendation to include the Kurmi community in schedule tribe but not in the OBC.
“I will definitely come here to campaign during the Lok Sabha elections in 2019... But we all have to be united to fight those who are trying to divide the country,” he said.
He said he did not see anything wrong as “spread by the oppositions about Kolkata”.
“The picture is absolutely different from what I have heard. I have seen people are so happy here,” he claimed.
On her part, Banerjee described Patel as “like my younger brother”.
“He is very good and sensitive. He is fighting for the people of Gujarat... I have asked him to join politics and work for the good of the common man,” she said.
The meeting between Banerjee and Patel got delayed by half an hour as the chief minister’s flight from Bagdogra got delayed due to some technical reasons.
“I do not know why my flight kept on roving in the sky for around 35 minutes,” Banerjee told reporters after reaching the state secretariat.
Image: Patidar community leader Hardik Patel meets West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee at Nabanna (State Secretariat) in Kolkata. Photograph: PTI Photo