Hardik Patel. (Source: Official Twitter page of Hardik Patel) 

Hardik Patel’s Poll Hopes Diminish As Gujarat High Court Refuses To Stay Conviction

Patidar leader Hardik Patel's hopes of fighting next month's Lok Sabha polls hit a major roadblock with the Gujarat High Court dismissing his plea to stay his conviction in a 2015 rioting case.

April 4 is the last date of filing of nominations in Gujarat. Patel has a few days to challenge the judgment in the Supreme Court.

He joined the Congress on March 12 and had expressed his willingness to contest the election from the Jamnagar Lok Sabha seat.

During the earlier hearings, the Gujarat government had strongly opposed his plea saying that Patel has criminal antecedents with 17 FIRs registered against him, including two cases of sedition.

After the high court's judgment, Patel’s lawyers said they would first study the order and then decide about approaching the Supreme Court.

Justice AG Uraizee took into account the submissions made by the Gujarat Government while rejecting Patel’s petition seeking a stay on the conviction awarded to him by a sessions court, which was coming into his way to contest the April 23 Lok Sabha polls.

In his order, Justice Uraizee noted that conviction can be stayed only in exceptional cases and Patel's case does not fall into that category.

The court said that looking at the criminal background of Patel, no relief can be granted.

In July last year, the sessions court at Visnagar in Mehsana district sentenced Patel to two years of imprisonment for rioting and arson in Visnagar town in 2015 during the Patidar quota stir.

In August last year, the high court suspended the lower court's order sentencing him to two years' jail term in the 2015 rioting case, but did not stay his conviction.