‘Congress murdering Hardik’s political career’: Humiliated by party, says former Youth Congress vice-president

A Patidar leader and close aide of Hardik Patel, Sawani further said that he was miffed by the Gujarat Congress leaders' behaviour towards Hardik, working president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), alleging that Patel's political career is being "murdered" by his own party.

A DAY being dismissed from the party, former vice-president of Gujarat Pradesh Youth Congress (GPYC) Nikhil Sawani alleged on Friday that he was “humiliated” by his party colleagues two days ago at the Gujarat Congress office in Paldi of Ahmedabad, leading to him offering his resignation from the party.

A Patidar leader and close aide of Hardik Patel, Sawani further said that he was miffed by the Gujarat Congress leaders’ behaviour towards Hardik, working president of Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC), alleging that Patel’s political career is being “murdered” by his own party.

Sawani was addressing the media in a press conference in Ahmedabad on Friday, a day after he was dismissed from the party by Indian Youth Congress (IYC) secretary Hemant Ogale for his alleged “anti-party activities”.

According to sources, a ruckus occurred between GPYC president Gulabsinh Rajput and Sawani at the party office at Rajiv Gandhi bhawan over the issue of election of new president of GPYC.

The IYC has set a criteria for election of GPYC president stating that those who get maximum membership for the party, get elected for the president and VP posts.

“Two days ago, at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan in Paldi, a meeting for membership drive of Youth Congress was going on. There was a discussion on the age criteria to contest the polls. I was humiliated by the current President of GPYC Gulabsinh Rajput and later his workers Karansinh and others insulted me in the presence of GPCC president Amit Chavda, Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani and other senior leaders such as Bharatsinh Solanki. This was done under a pre-planned manner and the ones who have insulted me, have faced disciplinary action from the party in the past as well because they have been treating Youth Congress as their personal property, Sawani said.

“They keep conspiring to insult, humiliate and throw out new members in youth Congress and National Students Union of India (NSUI). GPCC never takes action against these elements and it is clear that they are promoting it from behind the curtains. I had spoken regarding my resignation to IYC secretary Hemant Ogale two days ago. However after I announced on Thursday night that I will hold a press conference, a dismissal letter for me was drafted and released to the media immediately by Ogale,” he added.

Regarding Hardik Patel, Sawani said,”Today, GPCC senior leaders are doing a tour of Gujarat to give condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones due to Covid-19. However, Hardik also lost his father due to Covid-19 but no senior congress leaders met him to pay respect. There are many ways that are being used by GPCC to keep Hardik Patel behind and humiliate him. Even in February, during local body polls, the GPCC did not arrange for a single event (sabha) for Hardik. He is not invited in any party meeting or events and it is clear that his ‘political murder’ is being done.”

Sawani further alleged that Indian Youth Congress is conducting a membership drive for “fund raising”.

“In the name of membership, they are collecting Rs 50 from each member. A total of 2.5 lakh membership forms were filled last time so its clear that it is a way to collect funds. In reality, today there are not even 50,000 workers of the Youth Congress in Gujarat,” said Sawani.

Sawani had come into Gujarat’s political arena back in 2015 when he had joined Hardik Patel’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) as a co-convenor. Later in 2017, before the Gujarat assembly elections, he had joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however he had quit after a few months. He then joined GPYC after Patel joined Congress.

On the question of whether he will join BJP or Aam Aadmi Party after his ouster, Sawani said, “I will continue working for the people of Gujarat especially for the youth, women and senior citizens. The decision to join any other party will be taken after due discussion with my well wishers.”

Denying the allegations, Hemant Ogale told The Indian Express, “After the incident at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, a show cause notice was sent to four persons including Sawani.”

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