Ministry of Home Affairs has withdrawn the security cover provided to controversial Patidar leader and Gujarati Politician Hardik Patel. According to news reports, the security cover was withdrawn after Intelligence Bureau (IB) submitted a threat assessment report to the MHA. IB conducts a periodic threat assessment analysis for every individual receiving government security details. Based on the assessment, the MHA determines the threat level and assigns corresponding security cover. Given Hardik Patel’s affinity for theatrics, hollow rhetoric and inflated sense of self-worth, it is expected that he will raise hue and cry over the MHA order.
To say that Hardik Patel is a controversial leader is an understatement. His meteoric rise in Gujarati, and national, politics has been mired in controversy. One scandal after another has surfaced related to the Patidar leader. Patel’s first foray into politics was through Sardar Patel Group, a small Patidar community group in 2012. He ascended to the post of President within a month of his joining owing to the disenchantment of Patidar youth. However, fissures emerged within the Sardar Patel Group regarding the leadership style of Hardik and he was ousted from the group in 2015.
As the saying goes, personal is political. In Hardik’s case the saying holds water. His involvement in the caste-based reservation politics for Patidar community stemmed from the fact that his own sister, reportedly, failed to qualify for a government job. In a vagrant display of lop-sided logic, Hardik made it his calling not to crusade against caste-based reservation but to battle for inclusion of Patidar community in OBC category. This very same calling led him to join Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in 2015, leading to his ascent in State and National politics.
Under the aegis of Patidar reservation agitation, Hardik addressed his first rally July, 2015 drawing a considerable number of people. His oratorical skills notwithstanding, his divisive politics and over-the-top theatrics landed him in trouble from the get-go. In October 2015, Hardik Patel landed in trouble as he insulted the National flag in Rajkot. Not long after, Hardik Patel was arrested on the charges of sedition when he exhorted a crowd to ‘kill cops’ during a rally and inciting a crowd into rioting. The case against him is still ongoing.
His trademark divisive and opportunistic politics was on full display during the legislative assembly elections of Gujarat held in 2017. After initially backing Shiv Sena, Hardik Patel allegedly met with INC scion Rahul Gandhi in secret and soon came out in support of Congress Party in Gujarat Elections. He, along with another divisive politician from Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, toiled hard to ensure victory of Congress Party. However, it seems that Hardik Patel’s inflated sense of self-worth had hindered his perception of reality and his ‘mass appeal’. BJP retained Gujarat and Hardik Patel’s political ambitions seemed destined to be headed towards oblivion.
After the Gujarat elections and subsequent toning down of Patidar agitation, Hardik Patel has struggled desperately to remain relevant. Given that he is not an office bearer or even a National level politician, a government provided security cover for him was a waste of taxpayer’s money. It is indeed good news that MHA has decided to withdraw the security cover instead of feeding the ego of an individual with exaggerated sense of self-worth.
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