New Delhi: Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel on Monday wrote to Gujarat Police saying he did not want any police protection. Soon after, the police team stationed outside Patel’s house was removed. But Patel is not the only one to refusing a police detail. On Monday, Jignesh Mevani, who, like Patel, has been openly campaigning against the ruling BJP, said that he was given police protection “without asking for it”.
Patel has alleged, “The state government wants to spy on me. I do not need any police protection, I have my community (Patidars).” The Patidar leader went on to write to the Gujarat Police, assuring them that he is not at risk and does not need protection. Following this, his police detail was removed.
Similarly, Mevani also told a newspaper: “Two armed police personnel were sent to my home on Saturday night… I had never asked for it, neither did I receive any threats. The police may have found me vulnerable in their security assessment, which could be the reason for this deployment. I suspect that the ruling BJP may even plant something in my house or vehicle to book me because I have been constantly raising my voice against the BJP government.”
While both Patel and Mevani kept the Congress guessing till the last moment, OBC leader Alpesh Thakor had declared much earlier that he would join the Grand Old Party in his fight against the BJP for the December elections.
आज मेरे घर पर पुलिस वाले आए थे और बोले आपको सुरक्षा देनें का आदेश हैं।लेकिन मुझ पर तो देशद्रोह का आरोप हैं।देशद्रोही को सुरक्षा क्यों !!— Hardik Patel (@HardikPatel_) November 6, 2017
It was only as recently as this week that Patel openly announced that he would “support Congress”. However, he stopped short of confirming whether he would seek votes for the Congress in the Assembly elections, which is barely a month away.
For both Mevani and Patel, their fears perhaps stem from the series of meetings the two have had with leaders of the Congress brass. Both activists claim that this is an attempt by the state government machinery to keep a track of their movements ahead of the polls.
Last month, some local news channels aired CCTV footage of Hardik Patel leaving a hotel, after an alleged meeting with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
Patel had later denied that he had met Gandhi and said that he had, instead, met AICC Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, who slammed the channels for invading Patel’s privacy.
Meanwhile, Mevani recently met Gandhi and put forth a charter of 17 demands seeking social justice for the Dalit community in Gujarat. Soon after the meeting, he had claimed that Gandhi had accepted “90%” of his demands.