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‘Do what you can, I am not afraid’: Hardik Patel carries out rally ahead of Gujarat election

A sex CD, purportedly of Hardik Patel, surfaced last week. The young Patiadar leader claimed it was fake, and a ploy by the BJP to derail him.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 19, 2017 23:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mansa
Gujarat election,Hardik Patel,Hardik Patel rally
Hardik Patel (second from left)(File Photo)

Cheered on by thousands and going ahead with a rally the administration allowed after initially denying permission, young Patidar leader Hardik Patel asserted on Saturday no political attack would faze him.

“You sent me to jail. You also made my fake CD. Do whatever you can, but I am not afraid of anything,” the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convener said at Mansa near Gandhinagar.

Mansa is the hometown of BJP president Amit Shah and also the place from where the Patidar demand for OBC reservation and agitation for it started in 2015.

The crowd roared at Patel’s defiant “fake CD” reference to an alleged sex clip purportedly featuring him surfacing at a time when his outfit is engaged in the final stage of discussions on declaring support for the Congress in the assembly elections.

He told the gathering his sister was ruffled when the video went viral earlier this week and asked him to give up the fight. “… But good that they made a fake video when I am only 23. If they come out with a genuine video at 30, nobody will believe them.”

Patel took the fight to the BJP with his ‘Adhikar rally’ (rally for rights) on a day when two more of his close aides joined the party. So far five of his associates have joined the BJP. “I do not understand whether this election is the BJP versus Congress or the BJP versus PAAS,” he said.

He repeatedly appealed to people to “throw away” the BJP in upcoming elections and also tried to reach out to other communities. “I am so happy that not just Patidars, but Thakors, Kshatriyas and members of other communities have come here. This is a fight for our rights which have been take away for 25 years. Education, jobs, agriculture land, we have been provided nothing.”

Patel was scheduled to reach the rally venue at 5 pm, but arrived nearly four hours late to be greeted by people filling around half-a-km stretch near Chandrapur lake amid heavy police presence.

Earlier in the day, Patel had alleged through tweets that BJP supporters could attack him on the way to the venue.

While the PAAS is expected to reach seat-sharing agreement with the Congress, Patel called both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi “actors” whom people welcome with applause instead of their asking for their rights. “Not claps, they should be given questions. They should be made answerable for what they have done for our rights,” he said.

“I do not expect a new government will solve our problems, but we must defeat this arrogant government,” he added.

First Published: Nov 18, 2017 23:23 IST