Ahmedabad: Within a span of 24 hours, two key Patidar leaders in Gujarat who had joined the BJP, have levelled bribery charges against the ruling party.
Narendra Patel and Nikhil Sawani, two key aides of Hardik Patel, have now returned to the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
Patel addressed a press conference on Sunday to claim that the BJP had offered him Rs 1 crore to join the saffron brigade. He even showed the Rs 10 lakh cash that the BJP had given him on Sunday, with the promise of giving another Rs 90 lakh on Monday.
Sawani has further alleged that the BJP is offering bribes to other Patidar leaders to join them. However, while PAAS chief Hardik Patel has refused to join Congress, Sawani says he is open to meet Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
While addressing the media on Monday, Sawani said, "I had joined the BJP because they showed some intentions of working towards getting reservation for the Patidar community. However, their commitment doesn't seem strong enough and they are not doing much for the Patidars."
Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has reacted to the development and tweeted: "Gujarat is priceless. It has never been been bought. It can never be bought. It will never be bought."
Narendra Patel, in a midnight press conference in Ahmedabad on Sunday, said that he was “made to” switch sides. He also added that the BJP leaders had paid him an advance amount of Rs 10 lakh and promised to pay him the balance Rs 90 lakh on Monday.
It was only hours before the midnight announcement by Narendra Patel on Sunday, who is the local convenor of Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti that he had joined the BJP flanked by prominent leaders of its Gujarat unit.
Meanwhile, Hardik Patel's key aides — Varun Patel and Reshma Patel — joined the BJP in a dramatic turn of events on Saturday. Narendra Patel has now alleged that it was Varun Patel, who had facilitated his turning towards BJP.
The Patidar leader has further named prominent Gujarat BJP leaders and state ministers, whom he had met in Ahmedabad. “There, I was introduced to several BJP leaders, including Jitubhai Vaghani and Chudasmasaheb,” Patel said on Sunday.
While Jitubhai Vaghani is the Gujarat BJP President, Bhupendrasinhji Manubha Chudasama is a member of the Gujarat Assembly.
"The BJP leaders then immediately called a press conference, and made me say it. I felt that this is wrong and that the Patel community is being betrayed," Narendra Patel said on Sunday.
The Congress had also attempted to get its caste equation right in poll-bound Gujarat on Saturday by offering election tickets to Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakor and Jignesh Mevani, the three prominent young leaders in Gujarat.
However, while Hardik Patel rejected the offer, Thakor, an OBC leader has declared that he is joining hands with the Congress.