Hardik Patel Appointed Working Prez of Congress’s Gujarat Unit
NEW DELHI : Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday approved a proposal to nominate Hardik Patel as the working president of the party’s Gujarat state unit.
Patel has been appointed as the Working President of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect. Amit Chavda is currently the chief of the state unit.
Patel, 26, participated in and led the Patidar reservation agitation in Gujarat.
Ending decades of ambiguity, the Congress in the state has decided to build its social coalition around the economically resourceful Patidar community by this appointment.
The 26-year-old’s appointment was approved by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, a year after he joined the grand old party ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Patel, however, could not contest the elections following a Gujarat High Court order that refused to stay his conviction in the 2015 Mehsana rioting case. The provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, barred him from contesting the elections.
Hardik Patel, ahead of the last Lok Sabha elections, had spearheaded a campaign in Gujarat seeking reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutions.
With Paresh Danani leading the party in the state assembly, both the top positions in the state are now occupied by the leaders of the Patidar community. Danani is a legislator from Saurashtra region while Patel comes from north Gujarat.
The last 20 years of Congress politics in the state has been influenced by Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel who maintains a low profile.
The decision effectively dismantles the four-decade KHAM (Kharshtriya-Harijan-Aadivani-Muslim) combination built by former Congress Chief Minister Madhavsinh Solanki to challenge Patidar dominance in state politics. The BJP had then sought to mobilise the Patels to continue an uninterrupted stint in Gujarat politics.
But with Prime Minister Narendra Modi moving to Delhi and his successor Anandiben Patel sent on gubernatorial assignments, the state is being led by Vijay Rupani.
(With Agency Inputs ).