The more the BJP attacks Patidar leader and youth icon Hardik Patel, the more rapidly the number of his supporters rise and the enthusiasm in them as well. Diamond merchant and real estate dealer from Surat Mukesh Patel is prominent in constantly attacking Hardik. Although Mukesh Patel does not hold any post in the state BJP but he is very close to both PM Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. Hardik’s supporters believe that he has been assigned directly by Modi and Shah the job of spreading vicious propaganda against Patidar Amanat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Hardik Patel.
When NH talked to PAAS leaders about these accusations by Mukesh Patel, it became clear that Mukesh Patel is indeed very close to not only Modi and Shah, but also to state vice-president of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha and BJP MLA Harsh Sanghavi. The sitting MLA from Majura constituency of Surat, Harsh Sanghavi belongs to the Jain community. He is believed to be BJP President Amit Shah’s close aide in Surat. In various photographs, Mukesh Patel can be seen with PM Modi in the Prime Minister’s Office and even in Israel’s capital Tel Aviv.
When Prime Minister Modi visited Israel on July 5 this year, there was a a huge gathering organised by Indians settled in Tel Aviv. Mukesh Patel and Harsh Sanghavi were among the key organisers of this gathering. Their closeness with both the key leaders of the BJP raises certain questions:
The BJP would never answer these and many other questions. But the Patidar youth now clearly understand what trick is being played by the party. That is why, despite the accusations of taking money from Mukesh Patel, despite accusations of Hardik being mentally unbalanced and releasing a ‘sex’ CD, Hardik’s popularity has been constantly increasing.
In his huge rally in Surat on November 3, Hardik had, for the first time said in his own witty words that the BJP’s Vimal Patel and Mukesh Patel had offered him Rs 5 crore for not holding that rally. Mukesh Patel obviously denied making any such offer.
From Surat to Ahmedabad, the massive crowd in Hardik’s rallies is a witness to the fact that he has become an influential leader of the Patel community at such a young age. Patels have 14 per cent votes in Gujarat and right from north Gujarat to Saurashtra, central and southern Gujarat, Patels have a strong presence everywhere in the state. Out of 182 Assembly constituencies, they can prove decisive in 70 seats. It is apparent then why the BJP is so piqued by Hardik’s rise in the state.