In a latest and dramatic turnaround in the politics of Gujarat, Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel’s key aides, Varun Patel and Reshma Patel, today joined the ruling BJP.
This happened just hours after state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki invited Hardik Patel to join the party. Bharatsinh Solanki also promised to give an additional 20 per cent reservation to economically backward classes in the state if the Congress party comes to power in the upcoming assembly polls in Gujarat.
Varun and Reshma were among the prominent leaders of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and can turn out to be critical for the ruling BJP to come back into power in Gujarat.
They joined the BJP after a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and state party chief Jitu Vaghani during its parliamentary board meeting, which was also attended by BJP president Amit Shah.
After joining the BJP, Varun and Reshma, the Patidar leaders, told reporters that Hardik has become a “Congress agent” and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government.
“Our agitation was about getting reservation under the OBC quota, not about uprooting the BJP and bringing the Congress to power. While the BJP always supported the community and accepted a majority of our demands, Congress is only trying to use Patels as a vote bank. We do not want to be part of such malicious conspiracy,” Reshma Patel said.
“This agitation was not of Hardik Patel’s alone. He is now acting like a Congress agent. I and Varun are of the opinion that the BJP would definitely fulfil our demands,” she said.
According to Varun Patel, the Patidar community will never support the Congress party to take over Gujarat by inciting Patel youths.
“The BJP government (in the state) held talks with us in the past to resolve various issues. However, the Congress never held such talks, as they were not committed. We have decided to join BJP because we do not want to run the agitation by becoming Congress agents,” said Varun Patel.
“The BJP government even promised us to represent the issue of reservation to the OBC Commission. BJP leaders also promised us to provide legal help in case we want to take up the matter with the Supreme Court,” he added.
Unfazed by the announcement Varun and Reshma joining the BJP, Hardik Patel said in a tweet he will continue to fight for the Patidar people.
“The centipede will continue to run even if some of his legs break. People are with me, and I will continue to fight for them,” he said.