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The political plans of Patidar leader Hardik Patel got a major setback as the Gujarat High Court on Friday declined to stay a lower court order convicting him in a 2015 rioting case. Without a stay on his conviction, Patel who recently joined the Congress cannot contest the impending Lok sabha elections .

The last date for filing nominations in Gujarat is April 4 and polling takes place on April 23.Patel had earlier been convicted in the 2015 rioting case in Mehsana district during the Patidar quota agitation when a sessions court sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment. As per Representation of the People Act, 1951, he cannot contest elections. He has stated that if he fails to get relief from the HC, he will move the apex court.

Before he joined the Congress party in the presence of Rahul Gandhi earlier this month, Patel had requested the high court to stay his conviction, claiming that he has a chance of winning. The state government had twice sought time from the court to produce material opposing the application, which was granted by the court.

Patel  has often accused the state government for deliberately delaying the case in order to stop him from fighting the polls.

                                                                                                     –India Legal Bureau

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