More clips ‘ex­pos­ing’ Hardik emerge

Pati­dar Leader Blames BJP, Threat­ens Suit; Cong Jumps To His De­fence

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - TIMES SER­VICE

Ahmed­abad: Four more ‘in­ti­mate’ video clips, al­legedly show­ing Pati­dar Ana­mat An­dolan Samiti (PAAS) con­vener Hardik Pa­tel and his aides con­sum­ing liquor and hang­ing out with a woman, have gone vi­ral on so­cial me­dia. One of the four clips has be­come par­tic­u­larly con­tro­ver­sial as it shows the Pati­dar youth lead­ers hav­ing a “good time” af­ter get­ting their heads shaved in protest against the state gov­ern­ment’s ap­a­thy to­wards Pati­dar ‘mar­tyrs’ — killed in po­lice ac­tion dur­ing the quota ag­i­ta­tion. Fifty-one Pati­dars, in­clud­ing Hardik, had got their heads shaved in Bo­tad on May 21.

The au­then­tic­ity of the video clips is, how­ever, yet to be ver­i­fied.

Faced with grow­ing crit­i­cism, Hardik blamed BJP for in­fring­ing on his pri­vacy and threat­ened le­gal ac­tion. “They (BJP) love to peep into the per­sonal lives of oth­ers. As their 22-year-old ‘vikas’ (de­vel­op­ment agenda) stands ex­posed, they are try­ing to ex­pose a 23-year-old boy. I will con­sult my lawyers and file a com­plaint soon against per­pe­tra­tors of this sex CD,” Hardik told TOI. He in­sisted that the “char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion” would not ad­versely im­pact the Pati­dar ag­i­ta­tion. “Even if I am a bad per­son, it does not have a bear­ing on our de­mand for quota,” he said.

Hardik found sup­port from Gujarat’s young dalit leader Jig­nesh Me­vani. “Dear Hardik Pa­tel, don’t worry. I am with you. And right to sex is a fun­da­men­tal right. No one has right to breach your pri­vacy,” Me­wani tweeted.

Mean­while, Hardik’s for­mer aide-turned-critic Chirag Pa­tel said the quota cru- sader will lose the trust of the com­mu­nity due to the ex­pose. “Hardik will no longer be wel­come to stay in Pati­dar homes. Women will stay away from his ral­lies. Hardik’s claims that he has been framed by BJP will not cut any ice with the com­mu­nity,” Chirag told TOI.

Ke­tan Pa­tel, an­other of Hardik’s close aides who re­cently turned ap­prover against him in a sedi­tion case, said the lat­ter should call it quits now. “Hardik is clearly seen in the sex tape. He should con­fess his mis­takes and leave the quota stir. The com­mu­nity will not tol­er­ate such ab­hor­rent acts,” Ke­tan told TOI.

Mean­while, Congress went all out to de­fend Hardik. Gujarat Congress chief Bharatsinh Solanki, ac­cus­ing the BJP of play­ing dirty pol­i­tics, said, “Char­ac­ter as­sas­si­na­tion is an old tac­tic used by BJP.” Gujarat Congress poll in-charge Ashok Gehlot added, “Hardik had warned that BJP would try to ma­lign his im­age. It is Hardik’s per­sonal mat­ter. We be­lieve that no mem­ber of any po­lit­i­cal party should be de­famed like this.”

Purvin Pa­tel, spokesper­son of an­other Pati­dar group, Sar­dar Pa­tel Group (SPG), em­pha­sised that the video clips would have no im­pact on the quota ag­i­ta­tion. “If Hardik is pulled out from the stir, then some new face will re­place him,” he said.

Hardik Pa­tel

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