Gujarat Congress leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday said that his aim was not just to contest elections but also to serve the people, soon after the Supreme Court stayed his conviction in a 2015 rioting and arson case, paving the way for him to fight upcoming polls. Patel had spearheaded the Patidar community campaign in Gujarat in 2015 seeking reservation under the OBC category. The assembly elections are due in Gujarat in December this year.
“My aim is not only to contest elections but also to serve the people of Gujarat with strength. Three years ago, I was sentenced to two years in jail in a false case, but today the Supreme Court has stayed the sentence. I thank the judiciary from the heart,” tweeted Patel, the working president of Congress in Gujarat, in Hindi. Earlier in the day, a supreme court bench stayed Patel’s conviction in the rioting and arson case and said, “Having regard to the facts and circumstances, we are of the view that this is the fit case for the high court to have stayed the conviction. The conviction is, hereby, stayed until the appeals are decided accordingly”.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Patel against the judgment of the Gujarat High Court seeking suspension of the conviction so that he could contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Patel had sought a direction to suspend the conviction order passed on July 25, 2018, by a sessions court in Mahesana in Visnagar.
The court had sentenced Patel to two years in jail in the rioting and arson case lodged against him and others during the state-wide Patidar agitation in 2015. He had also challenged the validity of the high court’s order of March 29, 2019, refusing his plea for a stay on the conviction.