Hardik, former associates enter into verbal slugfest

Hardik patel, in a video statement, levied allegations that these videos were the proof of the BJP government having offered money to break the agitation and defame him. PTI file photo

The former colleagues of Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel have opened up a front against him and threatened legal action against the allegations levied by the 24-year-old that they had received crores to break the agitation and defame him.

Hardik made these allegations after a series of videos went viral on social media showing senior community members interacting with the members of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and talking about "someone's efforts to offer something" to PAAS leaders.

The video, which has Mansukh Patel, once a key mediator between PAAS and the government, is heard speaking with PAAS members.

Although nowhere in the video is there a mention of the BJP or of any money, the discussion in the video talks of "giving something" to someone.

Sources say that it was Mansukh who was instrumental in gathering the finance for the mega rally of the Patel community in August 2015 at the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad, which had seen almost a million people gather as part of the agitation.

Hardik, in a video statement, levied allegations that these videos were the proof of the BJP government having offered money to break the agitation and defame him.

He enlisted names of several of his past associates, including Dinesh Bhambaniya, Varun Patel, Reshma Patel, Dinesh Patel and Dilip Sabva, as having received anywhere between Rs 4 crore to Rs 8 crore to break away from Hardik.

While Dinesh and Dilip continue to be part of PAAS agitation, Varun and Reshma broke away from PAAS to join the BJP before 2017 Assembly elections. As many as 10 PAAS leaders from Hardik's initial team have deserted him since.

Hardik also gave out names of several businessmen and BJP leaders from the community, whom he said were entrusted with the job of offering money and wean away Patel quota stir leaders.

Dinesh Bhambaniya, on Monday, filed a police complaint against Hardik in Adalaj Police Station of Ahmedabad, seeking enquiry in to the allegations by Hardik. "He should provide proof of his allegations," Bhambaniya said.

Dilip, on the other hand, too has threatened to file a legal case against Hardik going forward, while Varun and Reshma denied Hardik's allegations.

"He can apologise to us in writing within five days. If he does not do so, then we shall initiate defamation case against him. This is an advise as well as a warning," Varun Patel said.

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Hardik, former associates enter into verbal slugfest

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