A day after Hardik Patel left the Congress, the party's Gujarat unit president Jagdish Thakor on Thursday claimed that he took the step as he was afraid that he might have to go to jail in sedition cases registered against him.
Thakor also claimed that Patel might join the ruling BJP.
The Congress leader made these claims soon after Patel held a press conference here, in which he alleged that he was not given any meaningful work despite being the working president of the party's state unit. Patel also accused the party of having no vision and its state unit being too much into "caste-based politics".
Patel resigned from the Congress on Wednesday, months ahead of the Assembly polls in Gujarat, claiming that top leaders of the party were distracted by their mobile phones and that Gujarat Congress leaders were more interested in arranging chicken sandwiches for them. Patel was made the working president in July 2020, a year after he was inducted into the Congress in the presence of Rahul Gandhi.
Talking to reporters in Rajkot, over 220 kms from here, Thakor alleged that whatever Patel spoke during the press conference earlier in the day and what was written in his resignation letter was scripted by the ruling BJP.
"Hardik feared that he may have to go to jail in sedition cases if he stays in Congress. Hence, to save himself from the possible punishment, he decided to quit Congress and he might join the BJP as well," Thakor claimed.
Patel, who once led the Patidar community's agitation for reservation, faces nearly 25 criminal cases in Gujarat, including sedition FIRs registered one each in Ahmedabad and Surat.
Refuting Patel's allegations that he was sidelined and not given any important work despite being a working president, Thakor said the party had made him a "star campaigner" in the recently-held Assembly polls to five states.
"Not just that. He was given the facility to travel in helicopters and planes. He was always given importance during the key national-level party meetings," claimed Thakor, who accused him of being in touch with the BJP for some time.
"The way he was speaking (against leadership) for the last one month, we had an indication about his next move. We also knew that he was in touch with the BJP. But we were trying to resolve the issue amicably because we were confident that he will not surrender so easily just out of fear of going to jail," he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)