Patel outfit members meet CM, extend support to BJP

Ahmedabad: Some leaders of Sardar Patel Group, which is part of the Patel quota agitation movement, today met Anandiben Patel and extended support to the ruling BJP even as SPG chief Lalji Patel claimed that those who met the Gujarat Chief Minister were not members of his outfit.

Accusing Lalji Patel of being a “Congress agent” and “misguiding” the Patel community, around 20 leaders of SPG today met the CM in Gandhinagar and extended support to the saffron party ahead of the rural and semi-urban local bodies polls scheduled to take place on the coming Sunday.

SPG works closely with Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) to get reservation for Patel community under OBC quota.

Polling for 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities in Gujarat is scheduled to take place on November 29.

Since the Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel is behind bars on sedition charges, Lalji Patel has been leading the movement, vehemently urging his community members not to give votes to BJP.

However, around 20 SPG leaders from the Patel-dominated Kheda district today met Anandiben Patel in Gandhinagar and extended their support to BJP, which is being viewed as a major blow to Patel community’s “anti-BJP movement”.

After the meeting, convener of Kheda SPG Tejas Patel lambasted Lalji Patel and accused him of supporting Congress.

“SPG is a non-political entity, which works for the Patel community. As per our Constitution, one cannot ask people to vote in favour of or against a particular political party. But, Lalji Patel has now become an agent of Congress and misguiding our community,” he alleged.

“Lalji Patel is fooling Patels by asking them to vote for Congress. He is moving away from our Constitution. Thus, people like us have decided to meet the CM to tell her that Patel community will not be misguided by such attempts,” Tejas added.

However, when contacted, Lalji Patel refused to recognise Tejas Patel and others as members of SPG.

“These people do not belong to SPG or PAAS. BJP is trying to create a rift in Patel community by claiming that Patel quota leaders are now with BJP. SPG is still standing strong and the community is still united,” Lalji said.