Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel on Sunday said Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra should have a "legal understanding" that her party leader Hardik Patel has been arrested as per a court's order.
He asserted that the BJP-led state government and the police department have no role in the arrest of the Patidar quota agitation leader.
The deputy chief minister's remark came after Priyanka Gandhi accused the BJP of repeatedly harassing Congress leader Hardik Patel, who has been arrested for failing to appear before a court in a 2015 sedition case.
Hardik Patel was arrested late Saturday night from Viramgam taluka in Ahmedabad after Additional Sessions Judge BG Ganatra issued an arrest warrant, observing that the Congress leader was flouting bail conditions by not remaining present regularly with the intention to delay trial.
He has been remanded in judicial custody till January 24.
On Sunday morning, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted, "The BJP is repeatedly harassing young Hardik Patel ji who is fighting for employment of youth and rights of farmers. Hardik raised the voice of people of his society, sought jobs for them, sought scholarships. He organised a peasant's movement. The BJP is calling it treason".
In reply, Gujarat's deputy chief minister told reporters, "Priyankaben should have this legal understanding that Hardik's arrest has been as per the court order."
An accused is required to remain present before the court during trial. And if the accused remains repeatedly absent from the court without its permission, then the court can issue a warrant to arrest the accused, he said.
"The entire process is legal and the state government, police department do not have any role to play," the BJP leader said.
Hardik Patel, who spearheaded the agitation for reservation of the Patidar community, was previously arrested in connection with a sedition case filed by the local Crime Branch after violence broke out during a rally by the Patel community in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015.
The quota leader was granted bail in July 2016 and the court framed charges against him and other accused in the case in November 2018.
He joined the Congress ahead of the last year's Lok Sabha polls.