Narendra Patel’s dramatic press conference in Ahmedabad late on Sunday night was the latest twist in Patidar leaders switching sides ahead of the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.
So, who is Narendra Patel?
Narendra Patel is a senior Patidar leader from north Gujarat. He is the convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), north Gujarat.
What is Narendra Patel alleging?
He alleged that Varun Patel, who recently joined the BJP, took him to meet State president Jitubhai Vaghani and offered him the “token” cash.
“Varun took me around in Gandhinagar and then took me to Shree Kamalam office of the BJP and introduced me to Jitubhai Vaghani and some ministers. He then took me to a room and handed over a bag of Rs 10 lakh cash as token and promised to pay me Rs 90 lakh tomorrow after a party function which I was required to attend,” he said.
Is Narendra Patel a key aide of Hardik Patel, the face of last year’s Patidar agitation?
It is hard to say as Narendra Patel, just two months ago, alleged he was assaulted by Hardik Patel and his aides at a hotel in Patan.
Based on Narendra Patel’s complaint, the police formally charged Hardik Patel and arrested him and his close aide Dinesh Bambhania. Narendra Patel claimed that Hardik and others snatched a gold chain from a friend who was accompanying him and also broke his mobile phone.
He said they were attacked following an argument over the Patidar quota agitation. Hardik, who was in Patan to attend a rally, on the same day asked the Patidar community to vote for the Congress.
Narendra Patel, however, later withdrew the complaint after a month.
How did the BJP react to Narendra Patel’s claims?
Varun Patel, who along with another prominent Patidar leader, Reshma Patel, had joined the BJP on Saturday, termed the allegations as baseless. He said the Patidars have realised the Congress game plan and are supporting the BJP.
“The allegations are baseless and motivated by Congress as the party fears that Patidars are swinging back to BJP after realising the Congress game plan,” he said.
BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya also described last night’s evens as “fabricated drama” and questioned Narendra Patel’s motives.
“It is all fabricated drama. He came with Varun Patel to join BJP and did a U-turn in 2-3 hours,” he said.