Lok Sabha election 2019: Hardik Patel may not contest as court refuses to stay conviction order
The 25-year-old, who earlier this month joined the Congress, has a few more days to move to the Supreme Court. April 4 is the last date for filing of nominations for the polls in Gujarat, to be held in the second phase of elections.Updated: Mar 29, 2019 23:20 IST
The Gujarat high court on Friday rejected Patidar community leader Hardik Patel’s plea for a stay on the sentence awarded to him in a rioting case, narrowing his chances of making his electoral debut as a Congress candidate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. His plea was challenged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old, who earlier this month joined the Congress, has a few more days to move to the Supreme Court. April 4 is the last date for filing of nominations for the polls in Gujarat, to be held in the second phase of elections.
“My only crime is that I have raised voice against the BJP. I will campaign for the Congress and we will form the government,” Hardik wrote on the microblogging site Twitter.
Patel was awarded a two-year prison sentence by a Visnagar court for leading a mob that ransacked local MLA Rishikesh Patel’s office in July 2015. The Representation of the People Act bars anyone who has been sentenced to two or more years of imprisonment from contesting elections.
Advocate Dharmesh Devani, who was representing the state government, said the high court accepted the fact that Patel had been a “lawbreaker” and so cannot contest an election.
“The fact that there were 14 FIRs against him, his speeches throughout have remained inflammatory and he is a regular offender has been accepted by the court, which has refused to stay Patel’s sentence,” Devani said.
The Congress alleged that the BJP, made sure that he does not clear the legal hurdle. “The BJP was scared of Patel. They brought the best legal team to oppose his plea. It goes to prove that the BJP will curb any voice against them,” said party spokesperson Manish Doshi.
The BJP dismissed the allegations. “It is the HC verdict. The BJP has nothing to do with it,” said senior BJP leader Mansukh Mandaviya.