Hardik Patel on Wednesday termed Congress as the 'biggest nationalist party in the country' and said several of its leaders have sacrificed their lives for the nation.
Addressing an election meeting here, Patel, who recently joined the Congress, also accused the BJP of trying to "derive mileage" out of the bravado of the country's armed forces, while his party is contesting the elections on issues of education, health and farmers.
"There is no nationalist party like the Congress. The soil of the country contains the blood of party leader and workers, who have sacrificed their lives," he said.
He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who often refers to himself as a 'chowkidar (watchman)' who guards the country's interests, over the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
"From where did huge cache of explosives came that was used in the Pulwama terror attack? No probe has been done by Prime Minister Modi, who calls himself the country's chowkidar," Patel said.
He also attacked BJP's Lok Sabha candidate from Amethi and actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani.
"Smriti can only act, politics is not her cup of tea," he charged.
Praising the party's candidate from this seat Rahul Gandhi, Patel said the Congress president is getting the support of the masses and will register a thumping victory.
Hardik Patel had joined the Congress just weeks before the Lok Sabha polls began, finally putting the 3-year-long speculation over his political affiliation to rest. However, his own poll plans were scuppered after the Gujarat High Court refused to stay his conviction in a 2015 rioting case rendering him ineligible. He has subsequently been campaigning for his party, as he was doing at the rally where he was attacked.
Earlier, a farmer who had allowed Patel to use his field to be turned to a helipad so the Patidar leader could land his chopper rescinded the permission. Patel had to later travel by road to Lunawada, around 100km from here, to address an election rally.
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