Congress appoints Patidar quota hero Hardik Patel as working president of Gujarat

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on July 11, 2020 Published on July 11, 2020

The All India Congress Committee (AICC) on Saturday appointed Gujarat's Patidar reservation poster boy Hardik Patel as the working President of State unit of the party with immediate effect.

The AICC President Sonia Gandhi cleared the appointment of the 26-year firebrand youth icon who was in the headlines in 2015 during a fierce OBC quota agitation for his Patidar community in Gujarat.

Patel, who floated an outfit named Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), had joined the Grand Old Party (GOP) in March last year ahead of the Lok Sabha elelctions in presence of then Congress President Rahul Gandhi, during campaigning in the State.

Hardik Patel's appointment as Working President is seen as a radical shift in the party's political strategy for Gujarat as old guards are now being shown backseat. Notably, Congress has been witnessing a series of defections of its elected MLAs since the 2017 Assembly Elections due to a weak hold of the local leadership on the party cadre.

The Party will continue the incumbent State Unit Chief Amit Chavda till next decision. AICC has also approved the proposal of appointment of three District Congress Committee Presidents in Gujarat for Surat, Anand and Devbhumi Dwarka with immediate effect.

Facing the embarrassment of reducing its strength from 77 (after 2017 Gujarat Assembly polls) to 65 over a period of past two-and-a-half years, Congress is seen revamping the spirit of the cadre by replacing the "ineffective" old guards with young leadership.

The Congress' decision to appoint a strong face of the influential Patidar community comes at a time when eight municipal corporations of the State are going to polls in October-November this year.

Political observers believe that in the Gujarat Assembly Polls, Congress could limit BJP's tally to 99 primarily becuase of the strong anti-incumbency factor especially among the unemployed youth, farmers and rural population. Notably, Hardik Patel had aggressively campaigned against the ruling BJP during the 2017 polls and managed a strong contest.

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Published on July 11, 2020
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