Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit politician and Gujarat MLA, slammed Patidar activist and former Congress working president Hardik Patel on Friday, stating that everyone has the right to change parties, but one should do so with decency rather than by hitting below the belt.
Hardik Patel, who had joined the Congress just over three years ago, resigned on May 18, only days after the party's three-day 'Chintan Shivir' in Jaipur.
Mevani, an independent MLA from Vadnagar who had pledged support to the Congress said that Hardik Patel had no right to raise accusations against the Congress or its national leadership.
"Hardik was handed the significant post of working president of Congress at such a young age. He had direct access to the party's top leadership. He used to communicate with them over the phone. He was a prominent Congress campaigner. He was given a chopper for campaigning. What more a party could give to a person?" Mevani asked.
"Hardik, I believe, has reached an ideological compromise," he added.
"He's only in his late twenties, but he has a long road ahead of him. He must have resigned from the party under pressure... he faces more than 30 criminal charges, and it would not have been easy for him to endure the strain," Mevani explained.
"You argue that the government had a big heart and gave the Patidars reservation, but the truth is that 14 Patidars were slain, many were lathi-charged, and you faced 32 false criminal prosecutions." The Dalit Leader reminded Patel.
Hardik Patel's accusations on the Congress Leadership
Mevani was also expressed surprise over Hardik Patel's personal attack on Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi.
In his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, Patel had claimed that the Congress despised Gujarat and Gujaratis and that the party's top leadership was busy vacationing abroad while the party was in crisis. He had also said that the state leadership was more concerned with ensuring that "chicken sandwiches" were given to the party's Delhi leaders, rather than engaging with people during yatras.
"The attack was far too personal, and it was directed at someone who believes in youth development. Hardik Patel received a lot of respect and admiration from Rahul Gandhi. However, his actions were akin to hitting below the belt... It's apparent that Hardik acted under the influence of something," Mewani said.
"Alpesh left the party gracefully," Mevani remarked, citing Alpesh Thakor's resignation from the Congress. "He didn't hit Hardik below the belt. Hardik has destroyed all contact and conversation channels," the leader added.
(With inputs from IANS)