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Hardik Patel says offered Rs 1200 crore to call off quota stir


Patel quota stir spearhead Hardik Patel has alleged that he was offered Rs 1,200 crore and a plum position in Bharatiya Janata Party's national youth wing by the Gujarat government to withdraw the agitation seeking reservation for his community under the OBC quota in 2015.

The large-scale protests by Patidars had triggered violence in many parts of the state, culminating in the arrest of Hardik and his aides under the charge of sedition. The claim of "monetary offer" was made in a letter received on Friday by various media houses, which members of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), of which Hardik is convener, claimed is written by Hardik who is currently lodged in Surat jail.

However, the letter did not bear any official stamp of authorities of Lajpor jail in Surat. The letter is addressed to Hardik's father Bharatbhai Patel and his mother. "I was offered Rs 1,200 crore by Gujarat government to withdrew the Patel quota agitation. The offer was made to me by an IAS officer of the government who had come to meet me in jail," the letter alleged. "They also offered me that they will make me national youth president of the ruling party. However, I have rejected both the offers," it said.

Repeated attempts to contact the state BJP leaders for reaction did not fructify. Hardik (22) was booked in two cases of sedition, one in Ahmedabad and another in Surat, besides under sections 121 (A) (conspiracy to wage war against government) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) along with his aides by Ahmedabad crime branch. "I have full faith in the judiciary and I will come out of the jail by legal process and carry on the agitation," the letter stated.

In the chargesheet filed in January, Ahmedabad Crime Branch termed the quota agitation as a "pre-planned conspiracy" hatched to put pressure on the state government to accept their "unconstitutional demand of quota." A separate chargesheet was filed against him in January by Surat police for sedition and other charges for allegedly instigating a fellow Patel youth to kill policemen rather than committing suicide during the agitation.

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