Setback For Hardik Patel, Key Aides Join BJP

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Gandhinagar: Quota spearhead Hardik Patel’s key aides -Varun Patel and Reshma Patel –on Saturday joined the ruling BJP. The development came hours after state Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki invited Hardik Patel to join hands with the party. Solanki even promised to give an additional 20 per cent reservation to economically backward classes in the state if the Congress is voted to power in the upcoming assembly polls.

Varun and Reshma were among the prominent faces of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and remained critical of the ruling BJP during the agitation. They joined the BJP 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.

After joining the BJP, the Patidar leaders told reporters that Hardik has become a “Congress agent” and was trying to use the agitation to overthrow the present state government. “Our agitation was about getting reservation under the OBC quota, not about uprooting the BJP and bringing the Congress to power.

While the BJP always supported the community and accepted a majority of our demands, Congress is only trying to use Patels as a vote bank. We do not want to be part of such malicious conspiracy,” Reshma Patel said.

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