New Delhi: Hardik Patel has nothing to be ashamed of, said young Gujarat politician Jignesh Mevani as he tweeted, "Right to sex is a fundamental right. No one has right to breach your privacy." Yesterday, local channels in Gujarat broadcast what was described as a "sex CD" of Hardik Patel, who is 24, and has pledged to help take down the BJP in next month's election in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state.
- Gujarati channels air "sex CD" claiming it features Hardik Patel
- He says it's fake, accuses BJP of circulating inauthentic footage
- Congress and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani back Hardik Patel
The footage of a man resembling Hardik Patel, seen with an unidentified woman, appears to have been filmed on a hidden camera in a hotel room and has a time-stamp of May this year.
Hardik Patel has pegged the video as a "dirty trick" of the BJP; about a week ago, he had forecast that a video of him having sex would be circulated to damage his reputation as Gujarat approaches its voting dates of December 9 and 14.
Now, new videos being circulated on social media - a local channel has also broadcast them - end with a tagline that claims "Hardik Patel is seen drinking with his friends". Gujarat is a dry state. The videos claim to be from May when Hardik Patel and his supporters shaved their heads and marched about 155 kilometres to demand "justice for Patels" ahead of the PM's visit to Gujarat.
NDTV cannot verify the authenticity of the videos.
"The BJP has nothing to do with the sex CD. We don't indulge in such dirty games. But if Hardik Patel says it's a fake video, why doesn't he file a police complaint?" asked BJP leader and union minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
The BJP has governed Gujarat for 22 years in a row. The Patidars or Patels, who for years backed the party, are being urged by Hardik Patel to support the Congress now instead. Two years ago, Hardik Patel launched a movement which caught on quickly, particularly with the Patel youth. At large rallies, he said the Patels, once powerful and prosperous, have been excluded from progress in Gujarat because they are not among the beneficiaries of affirmative action policies.
As a corrective measure, Hardik Patel says the Patidars must be added to the list of 146 backward castes which are entitled to government jobs and seats in educational colleges. Like him, Jignesh Mevani, who is 36, has not formally joined the Congress, but has said he will work in its favour.
Jignesh Mevani is a Dalit leader in Gujarat. He helped galvanise young Dalits after four young men were tied to a car, thrashed and filmed in Una in June last year after wrongly being accused of skinning a cow. The beatings sparked the most serious protests by Dalits in years in Gujarat, with seven youths trying to kill themselves in protest by taking pesticide in different parts of the state.
Dalits pointed out they earn their livelihood from skinning cows that die naturally, buffalos and other animals, and vowed to fight anyone trying to stop them from doing so.