Gujarat state political scene went into a tizzy after a press conference late Sunday night in Ahmedabad, ahead of the upcoming Gujarat assembly elections.
Narendra Patel, a senior Patidar leader hailing from North Gujarat alleged that he was being offered Rs 1 crore to join the ruling party here.
A convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), north Gujarat, Patel claimed that he was handed over a bag of 'token cash' at the BJP
state headquarters Kamalam in Gandhinagar recently and was promised another Rs 90 lakh for switching sides. A recent Patidar break-away Varun Patel (who has joined the BJP) had mediated his meeting with the state BJP
president Jitubhai Vaghani.
It is interesting to note here that it was Narendra Patel
who had got Hardik Patel
and his close aide Dinesh Bambhania arrested after he alleged that the duo had assaulted him and his companion at a Patan hotel a few months back. Patel had later withdrawn the claims.
Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is in Gujarat today (a day after PM Narendra Modi
inaugurated the Ghogha-Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service), has been going all out to woo Patidars. He has even invited Hardik Patel
and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani to meet him today at the state capital Gandhinagar at a rally. While Thakor is likely to officially announce him joining the Congress at the rally, Patel has so far turned down the invitation saying he is busy.
Other Backward Classes (OBC) leader Alpesh Thakor will join the Congress. The Congress is trying to pull off a coup whereby it wants to have the three youth leaders in Gujarat (with mass following) - Patel, Mevani and Thakor to either contest the assembly elections on Congress ticket or at least extend support to the Congress from outside.