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.
It’s been one hell of a rollercoaster ride for the women at The Championships with the favourites falling by the wayside.Victoria Azarenka is confident of doing well. APAs the combatants prepare for the climactic semi-finals on Thursday, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka will have a go at each other. The other clash features former champion Maria Sharapova and rising star Sabini Lisicki.Kvitova versus Azarneka definitely is a semi-final match-up which few had imagined at the start of Wimbledon. But the way it has panned out, old-timers now recall how these two players slugged it out last year. The venue was the same, though the thirdround clash was not on the show courts but Court 18.On Tuesday, eighth seed Kvitova did have a slump in form against Tsvetana Pironkova before winning 6-3, 6-7 (5/ 7), 6-2. Considering that Pironkova had ousted title contenders Vera Zvonareva and five-time champion Venus Williams, her eventual loss to Kvitova was a surprise.”At the beginning I was better and played like my matches before, but then I got a little nervous.I made some easy mistakes,” Kvitova said. “I was so happy I won the first game in the third set, when I broke her. It got better from there.”As a natural left-hander, Kvitova does have some advantage on grass. The last time Wimbledon saw a southpaw women’s champion was Martina Navratilova in 1990. But Kvitova is not looking that far ahead.”Anybody can win here and I think it’s open,” she said. And then she reflected on Navratilova.advertisement”Yeah, she was my idol when I was young. I have seen her matches on TV. But there’s no special connection with her though she did say to me ‘ well done’.” As if sounding a warning to Azarenka, Kvitova said: “Being left-handed is an advantage here for sure. So when I get a better serve, it’s good. I consider my game fast and my legs are strong to move well on grass,” she added.But the slight handicap for Kvitova is an abductor muscle injury she is carrying. “With pain-killers, it’s fine,” she said.Meanwhile, Azarenka says this is the best tennis she has played till now. “This is the best result but I still think I can improve my game,” she said.As one who emigrated from Belarus to the United States, Azarenka says she did it purely for tennis. “In Belarus, it’s impossible to play outdoors for a long period of time because of the weather.The conditions and facilities in America are excellent and it’s great preparation for me, though I never really had an American coach,” said Azarenka.When Azarenka was reminded that she had lost twice before to Kvitova, she shrugged it off. “It’s going to be a different story. You know it’s a completely different game, and different stage of the tournament,” she said.The other semi-final is intriguing, though bookmakers have tipped Sharapova as the favourite. Champion here in 2004 as a 17-year-old, the Russian is a mature player today.Her form has been sublime, though against Lisicki’s mixed pattern of play, nothing can be taken for granted. As the first German to enter the Wimbledon semi- finals since 1999, Lisicki knows she has to live up to the hype. Thursday will provide us with all the answers.