Ahmedabad: Did PAAS (Expand) leader Hardik Patel have a secret meeting with Congress VP Rahul Gandhi on Monday? Both Patel and Congress have so far denied that the two leaders had any discussions in Ahmedabad where Congress VP had gone to attend a rally organised by OBC leader Alpesh Thakor.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee chief Bharatsinh Solanki said, “It is true that Rahul Gandhi and Hardik Patel were in the same hotel, but they did not meet.”
Later in the evening, senior Congress leader Ashok Gehlot said that it was he who Hardik was there to meet with and not Rahul. Gehlot also alleged that the BJP had ordered surveillance and the Intelligence Bureau was checking his hotel room.
CCTV footage with Network18 from Hotel Taj, however, shows that PAAS leader entered the five-star hotel late last night. He left the hotel from an alternative exit on Monday afternoon.
Rahul, interestingly, checked into the same hotel Monday morning, before leaving for the rally organised by Thakore in the afternoon.
Days after the Grand Old Party offered tickets to OBC leader Alpesh Thakore, Dalit leader Jignesh Mewani, and Patidar leader Hardik Patel, the meeting between the top Congress leader and Patel is seen as another attempt to take the latter onboard.
Though Thakore formally joined the Congress on Monday, sharing the stage with vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Jignesh and Patel have repeatedly denied mulling joining any political outfit. Patel also said that he wished to carry on with his movement independent of any party and there was no question of contesting election since he was not eligible for it.
Another Patidar leader Narendra Patel, who had joined the BJP on Sunday, came out alleging that he had been offered an amount of Rs 1 crore to defect from the movement and join the party. Narendra addressed a press conference late Sunday evening and placed an amount of Rs 10,00,000 that he had received from the ruling party as an advance.
The Congress has ramped up its criticism of the BJp in Gujarat, saying that the party had served just the industrialists in the past 22 years of its rule. Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday attacked the PM and the BJP over the same allegations, saying the youth of Gujarat can't be bought for any amount.