Hardik Patel to Join Congress In Rahul Gandhi’s Presence Today

Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel will join the Congress party on Tuesday, 12 March, in the presence of its chief Rahul Gandhi.

Congress is holding the party’s working committee (CWC) meeting, which will be followed by a rally in Gandhinagar’s Adalaj in Gujarat.

Catch all the live updates here.

Patel's plans to contest Lok Sabha polls, the schedule for which was announced by the Election Commission of India on Sunday, 10 March, may be possible only if he clears legal hurdles.

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

Hardik Patel Says Will Abide by Congress’ Decision

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

In July last year, the sessions court of Visnagar in Mehsana district had sentenced him to two years imprisonment for rioting and arson in the town in 2015.

While his jail term has been stayed by the court, his conviction has not been suspended.

Patel had filed a petition in the Gujarat High Court, seeking a stay on his conviction by a lower court.

On Friday, 8 March, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had given Patel the go-ahead to join Congress.

He had earlier indicated that he wanted to contest Lok Sabha polls from Jamnagar seat.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Polls: Will Hardik Patel Fight From Surat or Saurashtra?

Hardik is a Design of Congress: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani

While Congress state unit chief Amit Chavda said Patel's induction into the party would strengthen it, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani 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 had said.

Also Read: We’re Fighting Against Thieves: Hardik Patel at United India Rally

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