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Hardik Patel to join Congress on March 12, wants to contest elections

The Congress's Working Committee will meet in Ahmedabad on March 12 and then hold a rally in Adalaj in Gandhinagar later the same day.

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Patidar leader Hardik Patel
Patidar leader Hardik Patel  PTI file photo

Patidar quota agitation leader on Sunday announced he is joining the and hopes to contest elections if rioting cases filed against him are not a "hindrance".

The Congress's Working Committee will meet in Ahmedabad on March 12 and then hold a rally in Adalaj in Gandhinagar later the same day.

However, Patel's plans to contest the Lok Sabha polls, the schedule of which was announced by the Election Commission of India on Sunday, may be possible only if he clears legal hurdles.

He has been convicted and sentenced to two years in a riot case connected to the 2015 Patidar quota agitation, which bars him from contesting polls.

"To give shape to my intentions to serve society & country, I have decided to join Indian National on 12th March in presence of Shri Rahul Gandhi & other senior leaders," Patel tweeted Sunday.

"I would also like to state that if there is no legal hindrance and party decides to field me in electoral politics, I would abide by the party's decision. I am taking this step to serve 125 crore citizens of India," he said.

In July last year, the sessions court of Visnagar in Mehsana district had sentenced him to two years in prison for rioting and arson which took place in Visnagar town in 2015. Patel has indicated that he wanted to contest Lok Sabha polls from Jamnagar seat.

While his jail term has been stayed by the court, his conviction has not been suspended. Patel has filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court seeking a stay on his conviction by a lower court.

On Friday, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) gave him the go-ahead to join the

While Congress state unit chief Amit Chavda said Patel's induction into the party would strengthen it, Gujarat Chief Minister said the decision proved that the PAAS leader was a "design of the Congress".

"We have been saying this, and now it has been proved that Hardik is a design of Congress party. His agitation was at the behest of the Congress. He has cheated his community, misled youth. He would get a befitting reply from the Patidar community if he stood for polls," Rupani said.

"Till now Hardik was leading a social agitation. Now when he joins the Congress party, it will strengthen us in Gujarat," Chavda said.

First Published: Sun, March 10 2019. 20:52 IST
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