Hardik used quota stir to become leader, amass wealth:Ex-aides

Ahmedabad: Patidar quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel used the agitation as a tool to satisfy his ambition to emerge as a leader and has become a “crorepati” within one year of launching the movement, two of his former aides have claimed.

Hardik’s former close associates — Chirag Patel and Ketan Patel — have levelled these allegations against him in an open letter addressed to him, indicating fissures in the agitation launched by Patidars to seek OBC status and qualify for reservation in government jobs and education in Gujarat.

In the letter, Chirag and Ketan alleged that the 23-year-old Hardik has become a ‘crorepati’ (millionaire) within one year of launching the Patel quota agitation.

The two, core members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which started the movement under the leadership of Hardik, today made the letter public.

“Your ambition to become a leader, selfishness and urge to be wealthy has caused huge damage to the community as well as to our agitation,” alleged the PAAS leaders.

“People of our community very well know that instead of helping kin of those who lost their lives during our agitation, you and your close friends are living a lavish life. You and your uncle Vipulbhai bought expensive cars from the donations collected to help the martyrs and to fund the agitation,” said the letter.

“Normally, people find it difficult to make both ends meet after going to jail. But, it is exactly opposite in your case as you have become a crorepati after going to jail,” Chirag and Ketan claimed.

Hardik has moved to Udaipur, Rajasthan after being granted bail by the Gujarat High Court last month in two sedition cases lodged against him in Ahmedabad and Surat. One of the conditions for granting bail was that he would stay outside Gujarat for the next six months.

Hardik or his associates have not yet responded to the charges made in the letter. He was in jail for almost nine months. Along with him, Chirag and Ketan were also behind bars for almost eight months as they are co-accused in the sedition case filed by Ahmedabad Police following large scale violence in Gujarat after their mega rally here on August 25, 2015.

Recently, Hardik formed a new team and sidelined Chirag and Ketan, spokespersons of PAAS. Both of them accused Hardik of dictatorial style of working, which according to them, has ruined chances of getting reservation for Patels.

“Because of your dictatorial approach, our dream of getting reservation has been shattered. For your personal gains, you have been boasting in the media only about your imprisonment. You must not forgot we also went to jail.”

Chirag and Ketan asked Hardik to stop behaving in such a manner or else the duo said they would reveal some of the “darkest secrets” related to the agitation.