Hardik Patel to join Congress this month: Sources

Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar stir for reservation in government jobs and education in Gujarat, is likely to join the Congress sometime in March, sources said.
Patidar reservation agitation leader of Gujarat Hardik Patel during interaction with media in Lucknow.(ANI)
Patidar reservation agitation leader of Gujarat Hardik Patel during interaction with media in Lucknow.(ANI)
Updated on Mar 07, 2019 05:09 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad | ByHiral Dave

Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar stir for reservation in government jobs and education in Gujarat, is likely to join the Congress sometime in March, sources said on Thursday.

According to sources in the Congress party, the date of Hardik Patel’s joining has not been decided as yet.

Reports had said Patel would join the Congress when party president Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders will visit the state for a meeting of its working committee on March 12.

Sources close to Patel said that the possibility of him joining the opposition party during the meeting is unlikely as it is a Congress event. Patel, they said, will stage a show of strength, invite Rahul Gandhi and then join the Congress.

While the 25-year-old leader has not said anything on the swirling speculation, president of the Congress’ state unit Amit Chavda’s statement on Wednesday that they will contest on all 26 seats, further fuelled the fire.

Patel has already announced he will contest the Lok Sabha elections and there is little doubt that he would either fight with the Congress party’s support or as its candidate.

A report by news agency PTI quoted unnamed sources as saying that Patel would contest the Lok Sabha election from Jamnagar constituency in Gujarat. The Jamnagar seat is currently represented by Poonamben Maadam of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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 BJP, since the beginning of the quota agitation in July 2015, has called him an agent of the Congress.

Patel had spent nine months in jail in Surat and six months in exile out of Gujarat in connection with two sedition cases against him.

There have also been speculations that Congress OBC leader Alpesh Thakor, who emerged as young leader along with Patel ahead of 2017 assembly elections, is likely to join the BJP, along with two other Congress MLAs.

“I will make some announcement on Friday in a press conference,” Thakor said.

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.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2021