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No plans for Lok Sabha polls, will fight assembly election first: Hardik Patel

The firebrand Patidar says he would contest from Tankara or Unjha whenever he decides to fight the polls

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No plans for Lok Sabha polls, will fight assembly election first: Hardik Patel
Hardik Patel
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Amid speculations over his political plans in the wake of the 2-year jail sentence in a case of rioting, Patidar Anamat Andolan leader Hardik Patel has said he has no plans to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Patel leader, who turned 25 last week, was speaking with Zee 24 Kalak in an interview.

"There are all kinds of speculations, but I had said this earlier, and I am saying it again — I wouldn't be contesting the 2019 elections. Even if I make a foray into electoral politics, I will first contest assembly elections," Hardik said.

The firebrand Patidar, who had campaigned extensively against the BJP in the run-up to the 2017 Gujarat assembly elections, said he would contest from Tankara or Unjha whenever he decides to fight the polls.

In response to a question about why he was not joining the Congress instead of just supporting the party, Hardik said he did not believe in backseat driving. He did not elaborate.

Hardik reiterated that he would be going on an indefinite fast from August 25, the anniversary of the Patidar Maharally. It was after the Maharally in 2015 that violence erupted in many Patidar-dominated areas. Patidars were allegedly at the receiving end of police atrocities in the violence.

"My battle is for the rights of Patidars and I will continue to fight for the community," he said.

Hardik and two others were sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Visnagar this week for vandalising the office of local MLA Rushikesh Patel. The Patel leader, however, alleged that he had been framed in the case.

"Not a single witness in the case has said that I was present at the scene of the incident. The violence had erupted after I and Lalji Patel (another convict in the case) had left from there," he said, quickly adding that he was not leveling any allegations against the judiciary.

He also said he would go to jail if the need arose, but promised to come out stronger.

Asked why many of his earlier associates were not with him anymore, Hardik said he would reach out to them. "I will reach out to them and try to win them over in the interest of the Patidar community," he added.

Hardik Patel convenes PAAS meeting

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti  (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel convened a meeting on Saturday in Ahmedabad to chart out plans to conduct a mega rally in Ahmedabad on August 25. Hardik is going to hold an indefinite fast demanding reservation for the Patel community

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