Ahmedabad: A Gujarat Congress leader has stoked a controversy with his remarks that Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel has the "DNA of Sardar Patel".
The BJP has criticised the comments, saying such a comparison was an insult to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy prime minister of independent India, who was also known as the "Iron Man".
A relative of Sardar Patel also said the two could not be compared, as Sardar Patel worked to "unify the nation", while Hardik was working to "divide" it. Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil yesterday told mediapersons that the steadfast and authentic approach of Hardik to take on the ruling BJP in the state showed that he had the "DNA of Sardar Patel", who could not be broken or suppressed by the British. "Hardik Patel is fighting against the injustices meted out to his community with a steadfastness and authenticity which could not be bought over even by the crores of rupees of (BJP chief) Amit Shah and could not be broken even after he was jailed for months," he had said, reacting to a purported sex clip of the Patidar leader which surfaced on the social media.
"He has the DNA of Sardar Patel, who could not be bought or broken by the Englishmen. Similarly, the BJP cannot buy or scare Hardik," Gohil had said. BJP leader Mansukh Mandaviya reacted to Gohil's comments, saying comparing Hardik to Sardar Patel was an insult to the latter, the state of Gujarat and the country.
"To say that a person caught in such a shameful act (sex clip) has Sardar Patel's DNA is an insult to Sardar Patel. The Congress has had a tradition of insulting Sardar Patel and this is an insult to Gujarat and the country as well," he said.
Sardar Patel's great-grandnephew Sameer Patel also trashed Gohil's remarks.
"It is rubbish to say that Hardik Patel has Sardar Patel's DNA because Sardar worked to unify the nation while Hardik is dividing the nation," he said.
Hardik, who has been up in arms against the BJP government in Gujarat, courted controversy after the purported sex clip, in which a man who look likes him is seen with a woman, surfaced on the social media. The Congress was quick to jump to the defence of the Patidar leader.
On Monday, Hardik had expressed satisfaction over the three options given by the Congress on how the party would grant reservation to Patels, if voted to power in Gujarat, and said the leaders of the community would take a final call on the matter. Hardik had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, if the party committed itself to allotting a quota to his community in education and government jobs.
Another video of Hardik with woman surfaces
Ahmedabad: A day after a purported sex video of Hardik Patel surfaced, another clip emerged on Tuesday in which a man resembling the Patidar quota stir spearhead is seen relaxing on a bed with two men and a woman.
The man with a shaven head is seen drinking water while seated on the bed.
Hardik Patel had tonsured his head in May this year with his supporters to protest against alleged police atrocities on members of his community during the quota agitation.
Though Patel is yet to react to the second video, he had accused the BJP of playing "dirty politics" on Monday. In the video, which appeared to have been shot in a hotel on May 16, 2017, a person with close resemblance to Patel was seen in a compromising position with an unidentified woman.
Commenting on the sex clip purportedly showing him, the 24-year-old Patidar leader said it was the beginning of dirty politics and the BJP would release many more such "morphed" videos to defame him ahead of polls.
"Just a few days back, I had told the media that such CDs will be circulated. This is just the beginning of dirty politics. I am sure that BJP people would circulate some more CDs because the man who did it recently joined the party in Delhi. But I am not worried at all about such tactics," he told reporters yesterday.
Alleging that the women of Gujarat were being denigrated, Patel said on Twitter in Hindi that crores of rupees were being spent to sully his image. He also vowed to fight back.