A Gujarat Congress leader has stoked a controversy with his remarks that Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel has the "DNA of Sardar Patel".
The BJP has criticised the comments, saying such a comparison was an insult to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy prime minister of Independent India, who was also known as the "Iron Man".
A relative of Sardar Patel also said the two could not be compared, as Sardar Patel worked to "unify the nation", while Hardik was working to "divide" it.
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil on Monday told mediapersons that the steadfast and authentic approach of Hardik to take on the ruling BJP in the state showed that he had the "DNA of Sardar Patel", who could not be broken or suppressed by the British.
"Hardik Patel is fighting against the injustices meted out to his community with a steadfastness and authenticity which could not be bought over even by the crores of rupees of (BJP chief) Amit Shah and could not be broken even after he was jailed for months," he had said, reacting to a purported sex clip of the Patidar leader which surfaced on the social media.
"He has the DNA of Sardar Patel, who could not be bought or broken by the Englishmen. Similarly, the BJP cannot buy or scare Hardik," Mr Gohil had said.
BJP leader Mansukh Mandaviya reacted to Mr Gohil's comments, saying comparing Hardik to Sardar Patel was an insult to the latter, the state of Gujarat and the country.
"To say that a person caught in such a shameful act (sex clip) has Sardar Patel's DNA is an insult to Sardar Patel. The Congress has had a tradition of insulting Sardar Patel and this is an insult to Gujarat and the country as well," he said.