Patidar agitation leader joins BJP, says Hardik ‘sex CDs’ blot on community
The ruling BJP is trying to win back support of the agitating Patidar community that can influence results in at least 60 of the state’s 182 assembly seats going to poll in December.india Updated: Nov 16, 2017 21:57 IST
Calling alleged sex video clips of Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel a blot on the community, former member of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Chirag Patel on Thursday joined the BJP, ahead of December assembly elections in Gujarat.
The ruling BJP is trying hard to win back support of the agitating Patidar community that can influence results in at least 60 of the state’s 182 assembly seats.
In the past, the BJP had a strong support base among the Patidars. But it eroded of late as the community started demanding reservation benefits in government jobs and college admissions.
Chirag, a founding member of the PAAS, is the third former aide of the quota-stir spearhead, Hardik Patel to join the BJP. Earlier, Varun Patel and Reshma Patel had switched over to the BJP against which they had begun agitation seeking reservation benefits.
Chirag, however, had parted ways with the PAAS almost a year ago.
Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel welcomed him into the party fold barely two days after six purported sex video clips of Hardik surfaced on social media.
The PAAS, earlier in the day, accused chief minister Vijay Rupani and BJP’s Gujarat unit chief Jitu Vaghani of making the morphed video clips to defame the organisation.
Chirag was among six PAAS members, including Hardik, to be charged with sedition in 2015. He, along with other co-accused, were granted bail after they gave an undertaking against Hardik.
In the past two years, the PAAS saw several desertions. Among its founding members, Dinesh Patel and Alpesh Kathiriya, apart from Hardik, are still with the party. Another founding member Ketan Patel also turned approver in a sedition case against Hardik, who spent nine months in jails and six months in exile following his arrest in October 2015.
Vipul Patel, whom the PAAS had accused of preparing fake sex videos at the behest of the top BJP leaders was also once a close aide of Hardik.
``From being a community-oriented movement, the agitation has now turned into a personality oriented. Funds raised to support the agitation has been misused to acquire personal wealth and pleasure,’’ Chirag said during his induction in the BJP.
“The Congress has used Patidars as vote bank. It is also not promising the OBC quota, for which agitation was started. So there is no point of continuing agitation or joining hands with the Congress,’’ he added.
The PAAS is reportedly holding negotiations with the Congress for a pre-poll tie-up.
On its part, the BJP government, as per truce formula offered to Patidars, have withdrawn nearly 500 cases of arson and damage caused during violent protests by Patidar youth.
Withdrawal of sedition cases is under consideration, Nitin Patel said.
The PAAS has not yet reacted over the latest desertion.
First Published: Nov 16, 2017 21:56 IST