A Gujarat Congress leader has stoked a controversy with his remarks that Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel has the “DNA of Sardar Patel”. The BJP has criticised the comments, saying such a comparison was an insult to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy prime minister of independent India, who was also known as the “Iron Man”. A relative of Sardar Patel also said the two could not be compared, as Sardar Patel worked to “unify the nation”, while Hardik was working to “divide” it.
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil yesterday told mediapersons that the steadfast and authentic approach of Hardik to take on the ruling BJP in the state showed that he had the “DNA of Sardar Patel”, who could not be broken or suppressed by the British.
“Hardik Patel is fighting against the injustices meted out to his community with a steadfastness and authenticity which could not be bought over even by the crores of rupees of (BJP chief) Amit Shah and could not be broken even after he was jailed for months,” he had said, reacting to a purported sex clip of the Patidar leader which surfaced on the social media. “He has the DNA of Sardar Patel, who could not be bought or broken by the Englishmen. Similarly, the BJP cannot buy or scare Hardik,” Gohil had said.
BJP leader Mansukh Mandaviya reacted to Gohil’s comments, saying comparing Hardik to Sardar Patel was an insult to the latter, the state of Gujarat and the country.
“To say that a person caught in such a shameful act (sex clip) has Sardar Patel’s DNA is an insult to Sardar Patel. The Congress has had a tradition of insulting Sardar Patel and this is an insult to Gujarat and the country as well,” he said. Sardar Patel’s great-grandnephew Sameer Patel also trashed Gohil’s remarks. “It is rubbish to say that Hardik Patel has Sardar Patel’s DNA because Sardar worked to unify the nation while Hardik is dividing the nation,” he said.
Hardik, who has been up in arms against the BJP government in Gujarat, courted controversy after the purported sex clip, in which a man who look likes him is seen with a woman, surfaced on the social media. The Congress was quick to jump to the defence of the Patidar leader. Yesterday, Hardik had expressed satisfaction over the three options given by the Congress on how the party would grant reservation to Patels, if voted to power in Gujarat, and said the leaders of the community would take a final call on the matter.
Hardik had earlier set a condition that he would support the Congress in the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls, if the party committed itself to allotting a quota to his community in education and government jobs. The 182-member Gujarat Assembly will go to the polls in two phases — on December 9 and 14. The counting of votes will be taken up on December 18.