Gujrat’s controversial Patidar leader Hardik Patel, 25, faces his hard time today as Gujrat High Court refused to stay his conviction. Now, It can be seen as a huge setback for Congress as Patel joined the grand old party two weeks ago.
However, Hardik Patel blamed the BJP for him not being able to contest polls, and said he will campaign for the Congress – the party he joined earlier this month – across the country.
Today, Gujrat High Court rejected his plea to put a stay on his conviction in a 2015 rioting case. Under the Representation of the People Act, a convicted person cannot contest elections unless the conviction stays.
With April 4 being the last date of filing of nominations in Gujarat, Hardik Patel has a few days to challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court.
According to the news agency ANI, Hardik said, ‘We will not get scared. We will keep raising the concerns of the common man with truth, non-violence, and honesty. Will ensure the Congress forms a government. For the party, I will campaign in Gujarat and across the country. My only fault is I did not bow down before the BJP. This is the result of fighting the government.’
Hardik Patel and his conviction
In July last year, Hardik Patel was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for rioting and arson in Gujarat’s Visnagar town during the 2015 Patidar quota agitation. He was granted bail and his sentence was suspended in August 2018 by the high court, but his conviction has not stayed.
The Patidar leader had moved the High Court on March 8 for a stay on his conviction, which was yesterday opposed by the BJP-led Gujarat government.
Hardik had joined the Congress two weeks ago in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in Ahmedabad. He had also made his intention to contest Lok Sabha elections from Gujarat’s Jamnagar constituency clear earlier this month.
He had backed the Congress in the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections in which the party gave a stiff competition to the BJP, winning 81 out of 182 assembly seats.