As Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) accepted the Congress formula to get constitutionally tenable reservation for Patidars, two videos of the Patidar leader have started doing the rounds.
On Monday, a sex video allegedly featuring Hardik Patel had surfaced and was aired on local Gujarati TV channels. Hardik had denied that it was he in the video and called it an expected ploy to dent his image at the time of elections in Gujarat.
The video, reportedly shot on May 16 earlier this year, shows a male bearing a close resemblance to Hardik Patel with a woman in a hotel room. Hardik was attending PAAS core committee meeting in Gandhinagar when the video went viral.
Another video of the Patidar reservation agitation leader went viral on social media on Tuesday, media reports said.
The video shows a man resembling Hardik, with two other men and a woman in a hotel room. Shot with a hidden camera, the video is allegedly from May 22, a day after Hardik had undertaken the Nyay Yatra in Hota. While the male who looks like Hardik is seen mostly lying on the bed, the others seem to be consuming liquor sitting on the floor.
Rival political parties reacted predictably to the videos. The BJP said that Hardik stands exposed before the Patidar community. The Congress accused the BJP of resorting to character assassination ahead of the elections.
Hardik, who had said a few days ago that his opponents could release a sex tape to defame him, accused the BJP of being behind the video and playing dirty politics. Hardik said on Monday, “I have said earlier too that such allegations are going to be made (ahead of polls). Our core committee was meeting today to decide (on Congress’s proposals offering reservation to Patidars). This is just the beginning. This is election time. Our agitation is going strong. Winds of changes are sweeping Gujarat, and such allegations will be made.”
He said that BJP members will make even worse attempts to defame him going ahead. He alleged that the video was made in Bangkok, and vowed to take necessary legal steps. His supporters claimed the video was morphed.
Patel said it was a conspiracy against him by the ruling BJP, which was “known to be adept at this”. He pointed out that sometime ago, BJP insiders floated such a video of one of their own leaders Sanjay Joshi.
It is not for the first time that attempts have been made to tarnish Hardik Patel’s image. In 2015, a sex CD was released soon after he had launched the agitation to demand quota in government jobs for the Patel-Patidars. It was not clear whether the person seen in the video was Hardik. However, the clip labelled him as such. The Patidar leader did not refute or challenge the video clip even then.
BJP denied Hardik Patel’s allegation. “The BJP has nothing to do with the sex CD. We don’t indulge in such dirty games. But if Hardik Patel says it’s a fake video, why doesn’t he file a police complaint?” asked BJP leader and union minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
Meanwhile, Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader in Gujarat, on Tuesday came out in support of Hardik Patel saying that “sex was a fundamental right and no one has the right to breach anyone’s privacy.”
Jignesh Mevani tweeted: “Dear Hardik Patel, don’t worry. I m with you. And right to sex is a fundamental right. No one has right to breach your privacy.”
Hardik Patel’s PAAS is expected to ally with Congress against the BJP in the upcoming Gujarat polls. Hardik has played a pivotal role in the Patel quota agitation across the state of Gujarat.
Hardik Patel has said that he is satisfied with the three options provided by the Congress on how the party would grant reservation to Patels if voted to power, according to PTI reports.
He, however, said that a final call will be taken by Tuesday evening after a meeting of the community’s supreme decision making body.
Hardik Patel, after going through various documents related to reservation given by the Congress, claimed that it was a misconception that reservation cannot go beyond 50 per cent.
Congress leader Kapil Sibal had submitted the three options, backed by various provisions in the Constitution and past judgements by the Supreme Court, to the members of Hardik-led PAAS on November 8. The move was in pursuance of the party’s promise that it would grant reservation to the community if voted to power.
“I held a detailed discussion with core PAAS members about the options given to us by Congress. After going through various documents and judgements, I now firmly believe that their formula is right. It is a misconception that reservation cannot go beyond 50 per cent,” Hardik said.
He said it is not written anywhere in the Constitution that quota cannot go beyond 50 per cent. Citing some past Supreme Court judgments, Hardik said the apex court had given conflicting judgements about reservation.
“In one instance, the SC said that quota can’t go beyond 50 per cent. But, another judgement had said reservation beyond that limit can be granted by conducting a survey. Patel community in Madhya Pradesh was included under OBC quota in 1994. Similarly, Patidars in Gujarat can also get reservation,” he told reporters.
Gujarat votes on December 9 and 14; results will be declared on Dec 18th.