Narendra Patel, a key member of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), has claimed that the BJP offered him ₹1 crore to break away from the Patidar agitation and join it.
Mr. Patel joined the BJP on Sunday evening in the presence of Varun Patel, another aide of Hardik Patel who joined the party on Saturday after meeting BJP president Amit Shah.
However, within a few hours of joining the party, Mr. Narendra Patel alleged that he received a token amount of ₹10 lakh as as a part of the ₹ 1 crore that the BJP promised him to switch over to the party. He accused Mr. Varun Patel of facilitating the deal.
Mr. Narendra Pat produced before the media the cash he allegedly received from a BJP leader and claimed that he “enacted a drama of joining the BJP only to expose the party using money power to lure Patidar agitation leaders in the State.”
“The BJP stands exposed today. They offered me ₹ 1 crore and immediately ₹10 lakh was handed over to me in the presence of Varun Patel. I’m going to donate this money to the families of those killed during the Patidar agitation in 2015,” he told The Hindu .
“Varun Patel struck a deal with the BJP of ₹1 crore for me and the BJP immediately agreed. “I received ₹10 lakh so that I can parade it before media and expose the dirty tricks of the BJP in Gujarat,” he said.
“I will tell the BJP that I am not buy-able and even if you give me the entire Reserve Bank of India, I will not betray my community and its interests. My main aim was to expose the BJP and I did it,” he said.
The BJP had opened its purse strings to break the agitation and buy the Patidar community leaders ahead of the polls, he alleged.
With defections of Harik Patel’s key aides like Mr. Varun Patel and Reshma Patel and few other local leaders involved in the agitation, the BJP was hoping to contain the damage the Patidar quota agitation is likely to cause during the polls, he said.
Gujarat BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya dismissed the allegations, saying it was a “Congress motivated plan to malign the image of the BJP in Gujarat.”
In a related development, Nikhil Sawani, a senior member of the quota agitation group who joined the BJP a few weeks back , resigned from the party, accusing it of trying to compromise the interests of the Patidar community in the State.
“I have resigned from the BJP,” Mr. Sawani told the media on Monday morning. He said he would meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi along with a Patidar delegation.