Patidar leader Hardik Patel to join Congress on March 12

Kamal Saiyed
Along with Patel, five other members of the PAAS core group of the nine, are likely to join Congress in the next couple of days. (Express photo)

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel will join the Congress in Ahmedabad on March 12 when the party will hold its working committee meeting in the city. He is also likely to contest Lok Sabha polls from Jamnagar in Gujarat.

This was decided at the core committee meeting of PAAS in Rajkot on Thursday.

"In the core committee meeting, all the members gave a green signal to Hardik Patel joining the Congress during the party's CWC meeting scheduled to be held in Ahmedabad on March 12. Senior Congress leaders, including party chief Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former PM Dr Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will attend the meet.

"Hardik will most probably contest from Jamnagar on a Congress ticket and PAAS workers will work for his victory," Dharmik Malaviya, co-convenor of PAAS from Surat, told The Indian Express. Along with Hardik, five more PAAS leaders are likely to join the Congress. "Few other PAAS core committee members have expressed wish to join the Congress, but it will take a few days to decide," Malaviya said.

PAAS sources, however, said Manoj Panara, Uday Patel, Gita Patel, Jayesh Patel and Amit Patel are likely to join the Congress.

Sources in the outfit said the core committee members also discussed the possibility of a merger with the Congress, but it seems the issue has been put on hold for now .

PAAS said the core committee members discussed how to carry on the movement for Patidar quota and bring all the Patidars on one platform and make the organisation stronger. "We also discussed the strategy for getting co-convenor Alpesh Katheriya, who is facing sedition charges, released from jail," Malaviya added.

Earlier in the day, speaking to The Indian Express, Hardik said, "I will join the Congress in a short time. In next couple of days, I will meet state Congress leaders and put forth my issues to them. Later, the day will be fixed for my joining the party. If the party wishes, I may contest the elections."