A day after TV channels showed CCTV footage of a “secret” meeting between Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Patidar leader Hardik Patel, the latter placed several demands before the Congress Tuesday as a condition for supporting the party in the Gujarat assembly polls.
Hardik Patel sought the maximum number of tickets for Patidar candidates in the election along with an assurance on quota for the community in government jobs and educational institutions, among others. He also asked for constitutional protection to the provision of reservation for the community in order to preclude a judicial review.
Hardik Patel said he will prefer to support the Grand Old Party to defeat the BJP in Gujarat. He said, “If BJP is a mahachor, the Congress is a chor. And if a chor’s help is needed to trounce a mahachor, we will do that also.”
Denying any “secret” meeting with Rahul Gandhi in an Ahmedabad hotel, the Patidar Anamat Andolan leader said he went to the hotel at the time the Congress leader also checked in, but claimed he did not meet him. Instead, he said went there to meet Congress Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot. “After the Congress’s invite, I reached the hotel at 3 am. I met their (Congress) Gujarat in-charge (Gehlot). As it was too late, I decided to stay back at the hotel. But they (BJP) got the CCTV camera clips leaked because everything here (in Gujarat) is their (BJP) property,” Hardik Patel said.
“I didn’t meet Rahul Gandhi, but if I do, I won’t meet him secretly. I am not meeting a terrorist, or meeting Nawaz Sharif at midnight like Narendra Modi did,” he added.(With inputs from PTI)