Former Gujarat leader Hardik Patel’s close confidantes of his Patidar agitation days have called his joining the BJP on Thursday a “political suicide” and questioned him about justice to the families of 14 Patel youngsters who died during the 2015 reservation stir.
Alpesh Kathiria, who leads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) now and also faces sedition charges like Hardik Patel, asked him what happened to the pending issues of the Patidars pending with the Gujarat Government.
Kathiria asserted, “Fourteen youngsters laid down their lives for the Patidar cause. The government had promised that their family members would be given jobs, while criminal cases against all Patel leaders during the quota agitation. I want to ask Hardik what happened to the cause of the Patels?”
Another leader Reshma Patel, who had joined the BJP only to quit it later and is now with NCP, said, “Whatever status and importance that Hardik had in the Congress would be completely wiped out in the BJP. I have been in the BJP and burnt my fingers.”
She added that his joining the BJP would prove politically suicidal “since I know that party inside out”. Reshma also wrote these things to Hardik in an open letter.
Dinesh Bhambhania and Manoj Panara, who were part of the core team of Hardik during the Patidar agitation, also described his joining the BJP as suicidal. They said this was a classic case of a person’s thought process going awry when his end nears.
Similar was the reaction of another Patidar group, Sardar Patel Group, leader Laljibhai Patel lashed out at him and asserted, “A leader of the Patidar samaj can’t be so fickle. Earlier, he had said he would not join politics. Then he embraced the Congress and is now going to the BJP, against which he had fought such a pitched agitation while all issues of the Patidars are still hanging fire.”
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