HARDIK HAS SAR­DAR PA­TEL’S DNA: CONG LEADER; BJP FLAYS RE­MARKS

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AHMED­ABAD: 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.

On Mon­day, 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.

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