Patidar leader Naresh Patel likely to meet Sonia


New Delhi, May 20 : Naresh Patel, an influential Patidar leader in Gujarat, is likely to meet Sonia Gandhi on Friday, sources said. Patel and Gujarat Congress in-charge Raghu Sharma are on their way to Delhi, sources added. On Thursday, the Congress delegation led by Raghu Sharma met the Khodaldham managing trustee and influential 'Leuva' Patel (a sub-caste of Patidars) leader Naresh Patel on Thursday. While the party leaders claimed that it was a courtesy call, local sources said that Naresh Patel did not respond to Congress' invitation to join the party. The meeting came a day after Patidar leader and Congress state Working President, Hardik Patel, quit the party. There have been talks that Naresh Patel might make his political debut ahead of the Assembly elections scheduled later this year. The Congress delegation, which included Sharma, state Congress chief Jagdish Thakor, Leader of Opposition Sukhram Rathva, former President Amit Chavda, former Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani and Tankara MLA Lalit Kagathra, met Naresh Patel at the latter's farm house on Thursday morning. The meeting lasted for about 15 to 20 minutes. After the meeting, Thakor and Dhanani termed it as a courtesy call, and nothing else. But local sources said that during the meeting, Sharma invited Naresh Patel to join the party. The sources also said that Sharma conveyed to him that the party will contest the Assembly elections under his guidance, leadership, and the campaign will be planned as per his design and wish. /IANS


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