Hours after joining the BJP, an activist of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) has claimed that he was offered Rs 1 crore for switching loyalties, a charge rubbished by the ruling party.
Narendra Patel, the North Gujarat PAAS convener, joined the BJP in the presence of state party chief Jitu Vaghani last night and within hours he called a press conference to allege that he was offered Rs 1 crore to go to the ruling party.
Reacting to allegations, the BJP claimed it was a “drama” staged at the behest of the Congress.
“All these allegations are false. It was a drama (enacted) by Narendra Patel at the behest of Congress. He voluntarily came to us to join the BJP and then took a u-turn within hours. It proves that everything was pre-planned,” Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said today.
At the press conference, Narendra Patel showed Rs 10 lakh cash to mediapersons, claiming it was given to him as “advance” by former PAAS leader Varun Patel, who had joined the BJP on Saturday.
He alleged that the “entire deal was brokered by Varun”.
“He told me that I will get Rs 1 crore. After meeting Vaghani at his house, I was taken to the state BJP headquarters on Sunday night where I was given Rs 10 lakh as advance by Varun. I was told that I will get the remaining Rs 90 lakh on Monday during a BJP function,” Patel alleged.
He said he followed Varun’s instruction and joined the BJP just to “expose” the party. “I can never betray my community. The BJP can’t buy me and my loyalty for the Patidar community,” he said.
Narendra Patel’s accusations came a day after two of Hardik Patel’s key aides – Varun Patel and Reshma Patel – joined the BJP, alleging that the quota agitation spearhead had become a “Congress agent” and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government.
Last week, state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki had invited Hardik Patel to join the party.
Solanki even promised to give an additional 20 per cent reservation to economically backward sections in the state if the Congress came to power after the upcoming assembly polls.
Varun Patel and Reshma Patel were among the prominent faces of the Hardik Patel-led PAAS and were critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation.
They joined the BJP on Saturday 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.
The Election Commission has said the state will go to polls before December 18. The BJP and Congress are pitted against each other for the important election.