When the newly elected legislator from Vadgam constituency in Gujarat, Jigneshkumar Natvarlal Mevani, commonly known as Jignesh Mevani, was asked in Chennai about his relationship with Hardik Patel, his reply was equivocal. He dodged the question by answering that Gandhians, Socialists, Marxists, Leninists should come and join the “struggle”. He added, “Come together. First, defeat these forces, stay united. From that unity, the struggle will emerge. Maybe, from that struggle, an -ism will also emerge”.
The question was specifically asked in the context of Mewani’s relationship with Patidar leader, Hardik Patel, but the Patidar leader’s name was conspicuously absent from / in the response of Jignesh Mevani. The very fact that Mevani did not even choose to mention Hardik raised question marks over the so-called “unity” that the legislator from Vadgam was harping about. When the NCP organized a samvidhan bachao rally in Mumbai on Republic Day, Hardik Patel chose to join the rally whereas Jignesh Mevani chose to skip it. The absence of a man from a rally that was held to supposedly save the constitution was surprising.
A few weeks back, Jignesh Mevani after getting elected as an Independent candidate with the help of the Congress party and its ecosystem (Congress had not fielded its candidate from the Vadgam constituency, making it easier for Jignesh Mevani to win) was challenging the Indian Prime Minister to choose between the Constitution and Manusmriti. But, when it came to himself “choosing between attending the rally in Mumbai (which was also attended by Hardik Patel and Alpesh Thakor) to “save the constitution” and absenting himself, he chose the latter course of action. He was promoting his cameo role in a forthcoming Tamil film by tweeting about it. Such is the level of duplicity of the liberal media’s new poster boys.
Three days later, at another commemorative function held in Bangalore on 29th January on the birth anniversary of writer Gauri Lankesh, Mevani was one of the attendees but Hardik Patel was not. Mevani’s other friends such as Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid also attended the event, but his friend from Gujarat Hardik Patel was absent. Earlier, Mevani and his ‘friend’ Umar Khalid had also visited Pune, which had later witnessed violence on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. Both Mevani and Khalid were booked by the police for delivering provocative speeches in the city that led to the violence. In the wake of the violence in Pune, Mumbai police had denied permission to a programme in the city that would have been addressed by Khalid and Mevani. Hardik Patel, once again was not around. Jignesh Mevani’s hypocrisy can again be exposed by the fact that while he visits Karnataka urging people and politicians to make “ideological compromises” vote against the BJP, he becomes a mute spectator when it comes to the murder of a Dalit man in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, remains completely silent on the murder of Dalit law student Jisha by Ameerul Islam.
The fact is that Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel have never got along. The coming together of the trio of Hardik Patel, Jignesh Mevani and Alpesh Thakor was a political ploy engineered by the Congress and its ecosystem in the run up to the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha election.
All three represent different interest groups, most of which clash and remain at loggerheads with each other. Even in August 2016, Jignesh Mevani then had this to say about the inability of Hardik Patel to lead agitations. “We don’t want Hardik Patel s, we want people who can keep the struggle going. This is a continuous struggle. It won’t peter out like the Patel movement”.
In Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel seem set to be on a collision course this time. In the Gitapura village of Detroj Taluka in Ahmedabad district, 5 Dalit families have been protesting the denial of residential plots to them by the gram panchayat of the Patel-dominated village. The panchayat also seeks to evict the families from the village. Mevani had met the families on 18th January and promised to resolve the issue. But, the issue has been lingering since quite some time. Earlier, the Dalit families had also accused the dominant Patels of “using force to ensure that the families did not live in Gitapura village”. Mevani, in recent times has been quite vocal in demanding that each Dalit be given 5 acres of land. Hardik Patel who showed his enthusiasm to protect the Constitution at the rally in Mumbai, interestingly, went to the village met the protesting Dalit families and called them “anti-social”, “encroachers” and “gundas”. It would be interesting to know the reaction of Jignesh Mevani to the insensitivity shown by Patidar leader Hardik Patel to the protesting Dalit families of Gitapura. The Dalit community in Hardik Patel’s hometown Viramgam is planning to launch protests against him. Perhaps, Jignesh Mevani who is also from Gujarat and who has positioned himself as the champion of the rights of Dalits would be the most appropriate man to lead the protests against Hardik Patel.
In the past, too, there was what could be termed cold friction between Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel when in an extremely unfortunate incident in October last year, a Dalit youth Jayesh Solanki was killed at Bhadraniya in Anand district of the state for attending a Garba event, by the members from the dominant Patel community in the village. While Mevani had visited the village after the incident, Hardik Patel was had only offered cold silence in reaction to the incident of atrocity on the Dalit community by the Patidars. It only goes on to show that the truth behind alliances of convenience with no solid ideological basis and acting mercenarily for personal agendas at the behest of the Congress ecosystem will ultimately be exposed to the people sooner rather than later. The so-called alliance and friendship between Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani is an epitome of one such ‘alliance’ (or A Lie-ance, i.e. reliance on a lie).