The social media war in the run-up to the December assembly elections in Gujarat got murkier on Tuesday as a fresh set of videos showing Patidar leader Hardik Patel with a woman went viral.
The three clips surfaced on Tuesday – authenticity of which could not be verified – reportedly show the 24-year-old Patidar quota crusader with a woman in a room. They are accompanied by two other men, allegedly co-conveners of Patel-led outfit Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS).
In the clips, recorded through a hidden camera and dated May 22, all three men have their heads tonsured. The alleged get-together happened a day after Nyay Yatra in Botad when PAAS members tonsured their heads in protest ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Monday, a video allegedly showing Patel (head not tonsured) with another woman in a different room had surfaced.
Patel on Monday has termed the clips “doctored” saying that he had shaved his head around the date shown in the video. He had also called it handiwork of the BJP. He was not available for comments on Tuesday after fresh videos surfaced.
The videos surfaced at the time when Patel-led PAAS is holding talks with the Congress in Gandhinagar on their reservation demand for Patidars.
Senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal had proposed a formula to meet Patel’s demand, which, sources said, were acceptable to Patidars.
Congress leaders backed Hardik. “He had expressed the possibility in advance that such fake videos would surface,” said Congress’s Gujarat in-charge Ashok Gehlot, adding, “Hardik is capable of putting his defence.”
Congress national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said Hardik has “DNA of Sardar Patel” and the episode has exposed a “poor mindset” of the BJP.
The remarks triggered protests by the BJP in some parts of the state.