Hardik Patel, Gujarat’s Patidar leader, joins Congress ahead of Lok Sabha elections 2019
Hardik Patel, who led a movement for reservation in government jobs and education for Patidars in Gujarat, joined the Congress party in presence of its president Rahul Gandhi.
Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders are in Gujarat for a meeting of its working committee.
Hardik Patel’s outfit Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which was at the forefront of agitation for reservation benefit in government jobs and college admissions, had declared its support to the Congress party in the local body elections in 2015 and assembly polls in 2017.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called him an agent of the Congress since the beginning of the quota agitation in July 2015.
Patel has indicated that he wants to contest the Lok Sabha election 2019 from the Jamnagar seat.
The 25-year-old leader’s plans to contest the Lok Sabha election, 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.
The Congress is focussing on Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, and had given a tough fight to the ruling party in the last assembly polls in the state.