NEW DELHI: Hardik Patel’s entry into Delhi and exit of Akhilesh Katiyar from the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP), an ally of the ruling NDA at the Centre, is not merely a co-incidence. Katiyar, a Kurmi leader from UP who fought the 2012 Assembly polls on the Soshit Samaj Party ticket, was instrumental in bringing Hardik to Delhi, fixing his engagements with Gujjar leaders and organising his press conference.
According to insiders, RLSP chief and junior minister in the Modi cabinet Upendra Kushwaha was not aware of Katiyar’s activities. Not even of his presence at the Delhi airport on August 30 to receive Hardik. Kushwaha, sources said, was also unaware that his party’s general secretary used a minister’s name to book the MP Club, North Avenue, for Hardik’s press conference.
Katiyar was sacked on Wednesday after Kushwaha, armed with evidence, confronted him. Katiyar held a press conference on Friday and alleged pressure from the BJP government forced Kushwaha to throw him out of the party. He claimed he was asked by the party not to support Hardik but that he had refused to do so to ‘honour his commitment to social justice.’
Though Katiyar played a martyr, sources said there was more to it than meets the eye. He runs the Lions Detective and Security Private Limited in Delhi and had invited Hardik to his house when the latter arrived in Delhi on Sunday. Hardik’s date with Delhi was also facilitated by Dinesh Bambhania, a businessman dealing with cotton export, and Chirag Patel, who fought the 2014 elections from Surat on an AAP ticket.
“An entire team worked to launch Hardik in Delhi. That includes Gujjar leaders like Mohan Singh Gujjar and Sheesh Pal. A PR agency was hired to make the debut impressive,” the sources said.