Patidar quota leader Hardik Patel on Sunday accused the BJP of paying huge amount of money to some of his former associates for hurling allegations against him to sabotage the Patidar reservation movement. Hardik, the chief of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), also circulated a list of his former associates who allegedly received money from the BJP, and the party’s points-persons who were allegedly given the responsibility of “buying” them.
The BJP rejected the allegations, saying it has nothing to do with it.
Hardik made the allegations after two videos went viral on social media. In the two videos, some of the persons who were associated with the Patidar quota agitation, were seen talking about some money-related issue. In one of the videos, one Mukesh Patel was purportedly seen telling a person that he will get his 100 per cent share, but should keep mum about others.
In another message, Hardik posted a list of people who, he said, were given the responsibility to buy PAAS leaders. The list included three businessmen from Surat, two senior leaders associated with two Patidar social-religious organisations, and a man alleged to be close to a top politician from the ruling BJP. At the same time, Hardik also gave names of 10 persons who were once associated with the Patidar agitation and later parted ways with him, many of whom joined BJP ahead of the last year’s Assembly elections. Hardik has alleged that all those were given different amount between Rs 13 crore and Rs 2 crore.
Following circulation of the videos, Hardik posted a video message, saying: “Today, in the videos that have been made public regarding buying (Patidar) agitators, BJP’s ill intentions have been exposed. It has become clear that the BJP had bought agitators by paying them crores of rupees. But, those who did not get money have made these videos viral, and it proves that they have understood the reality. We used to say earlier also that attempts were made to sabotage the agitation…But, our agitation is going strong even today. Those who left the agitation are now trying to come back…but, those who have betrayed the community cannot be trusted ever.”
Hardik, though, could not be contacted for his further comments.
Meanwhile, BJP said that the videos and Hardik’s allegations was part of an internal fight in the PAAS. “These are false allegations. BJP believes in bringing the communities together, including Patidar, unlike the Congress which is playing a disruptive role. And this is nothing, but an outcome of internal differences among them. BJP should not be blamed for it,” BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya.
“The Congress has done nothing to give reservation to Patidars in Gujarat or in states ruled by them, whereas, BJP has brought a law to give Patidars 10 per cent reservation and formed corporation and commission for unreserved classes,” Pandya said.
One of the former associates of Hardik, Varun Patel, was also among those who allegedly received Rs 6 crore from the BJP to sabotage Patidar agitation. The former PAAS spokesperson rubbished Hardik’s charge. “Those who are ‘bikau’, will always look at others as ‘bikau.’ I am officially inheriting Rs 15-20 crore and have business with an annual turnover of Rs 5 crore. These are baseless allegations and I am warning those making such allegations to stay within their limits. The two videos that went viral today have nothing which can prove that money was exchanged. And it does not even have my name,” Varun Patel said.