Ahead of big Cong meet in Gujarat on March 12, buzz around Hardik Patel’s next move
Hardik Patel, who led the Patidar stir for quota in Gujarat, is likely to join the Congress on March 12 when party president Rahul Gandhi and other top leaders will visit the state for a meeting.
While 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).
His 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 also 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.