hardik patel-PAAS
Hardik Patel, leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, addresses a public meeting after his return from Rajasthan's Udaipur, in Himmatnagar, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, India January 17, 2017Reuters

Hardik Patel will soon be making his official entry into politics after he announced on Wednesday that he will surely contest in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He made this announcement during an event in Lucknow.

The firebrand social activist is said to contest from his home state, Gujarat.

It is not clear yet if Patel will be an independent candidate or join a political party. However, speculations are rife that he will join Congress.

A report by Hindustan Times states that Congress might support Patel by not fielding another candidate against him.

Hardik Patel's outfit, Hardik's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), had previously voiced its criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party and extended support to Congress in the 2015 local body elections as well as the 2017 Assembly elections.

The Hardik Patel-led PAAS has always been up in arms against BJP regarding obtaining Other Backward Class (OBC) status for the Patidar community in Gujarat.

"We welcome the decision of Hardik to contest elections. He will make a good contestant against the Modi government and also as he represents the youth, who are struggling to get jobs," Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi was quoted as saying by HT.

Surprisingly, BJP welcomed Patel's decision saying that Patel's candidacy would only benefit the party.

"His candidacy will only benefit the BJP as Hardik now stands exposed. When Congress has not fulfilled any of the 17 demands made by him earlier, he cannot go back to his community and ask for votes. This announcement is a gimmick, which won't work when the Gujarat voter has made up its mind to make Modi the PM again," BJP spokesman Bharat Pandya said.