New Delhi, Oct 24: Will the Gujarat election belong to Congress? At least this is the whisper in the corridors of power, and looking at certain developments it appears that the blocks are falling in right places.
The already heated up political atmosphere in Gujarat got curiouser on Monday evening amid rumours that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi quietly met Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, who has been maintaining that he would not join the opposition and his fight was against the ruling BJP. After local Gujarati TV channels splashed CCTV grabs of Patel entering a luxury hotel around 2 a.m. and leaving after Rahul Gandhi had checked in there, Hardik Patel admitted at a public meeting and then told reporters in the evening that he met AICC general secretary in-charge of Gujarat Ashok Gehlot, but stressed that he did not see Gandhi. "The Congress leaders had invited me to meet them but I was at a rally in Mahisagar district. I reached very late, may be 3 a.m., and met Ashok Gehlot. I presented the demands of the Patidars and the issues we are concerned about," Patel said. "It had got very late, so I put up at the hotel and left in the morning," the Patel leader said. He stressed, "It is absolutely wrong that I met Rahul Gandhi. I will meet when he comes next. And if I want to meet him, I don't have to do so secretly. I am not meeting a terrorist, or meeting Nawaz Sharif at midnight like Narendra Modi did." Earlier, at a public meeting in Mandal in North Gujarat, Patel said, "If BJP is a mahachor, the Congress is a chor. And if a chor's help is needed to trounce a mahachor, we will do that also." Meanwhile, Ashok Gehlot demanded to know through a tweet how could the police or the government ask for CCTV grabs of a hotel. "I met Hardik and Jignesh in Ummed Hotel. IB, Police are checking hotel rooms. What is happening in Gandhiji's Gujarat?" "I condemn all this surveillance being done on BJP's orders." "Are HardikPatel and Jignesh Mevani criminals or absconders? If that is so, BJP must clear its stand. When they met BJP leaders, then their offices were not checked. Why it is being done now?," he asked. "The rooms which have been booked in my name are being checked. We are openly saying, we have met them and will keep meeting them in future too," he said. Interestingly, the CCTV grabs were almost simultaneously telecast by all Gujarati TV channels.
News24Bureau with Agencies