Face of the Patidar quota agitation in Gujarat, Hardik Patel is set to take a plunge in the politics by joining Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Mr. Patel on Thursday given green signal to join Congress in a meeting of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) held in Rajkot district.“The issue of Hardik’s joining politics was discussed and all members of the PAAS, which is the apex decision making body of the agitation, has given him go ahead to join Congress party,” PAAS member Geeta Patel said after the meeting.His entry into the opposition party will likely take place on March 12 after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to be held in Ahmedabad.After the meeting, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi and others will address a public rally at Adalaj where the 25-year-old Mr. Patel is likely to be inducted into the party.Meanwhile, amidst political buzz about his contesting Lok Sabha polls, the PAAS members said that Mr. Patel will take that call after joining the party.“He is likely to contest the Lok Sabha polls but from where is yet to be decided,” a person close to Mr. Patel said.
The Congress candidate was leading by a margin of 2,778 votes in the Dantewada Assembly bypoll where counting was taken up on Friday morning, officials said. The counting of votes in the bypoll held on September 23 in the Naxal-affected seat began at 8 at the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) campus in Dantewada district headquarters,a poll official said. As per the early trends, Devti Karma of the Congress was leading by a margin of 2,778 votes against her nearest rival Ojaswi Mandavi of the BJP, he said. Ms. Karma had secured 6,720 votes, while Ms. Mandavi got 3942 votes after initial rounds of counting, he added. The ruling Congress and main opposition BJP are locked in a direct fight in this seat, reserved for Scheduled Tribe, where bypoll was necessitated after the death of sitting BJP MLA Bhima Mandavi in a Maoist attack in April this year.