Patidar leader Hardik Patel emerged from the Lajpore Jail on Friday after over nine months to a hero’s welcome by hundreds of supporters, some holding posters that read "Gabbar is Back".
Patel was released after the Gujarat High Court granted him bail in two sedition and one arson-related cases that were slapped when he lead a mass agitation demanding job quotas for the Patel community. He was arrested in October when his agitation turned violent.
Agitation is not owned by a political party, Hindustan Times quoted Patel as saying soon after being released. He warned political parties against taking political benefits out of this. He further said that he does not need a 56-inch chest, all he wants are rights for his community and he has to work for the poor farmers and women of the country.
It was a reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 56-inch-chest remark made during the 2014 general elections campaign.
"Our agitation will continue in coming days. Our demand for OBC status for Patels is still there. In coming days, there will be a change in the style of our working, but, our attitude (tevar) will remain the same," Patel added.
"We indeed want to fully utilise whatever we have received (from the government) till now. But, we are not given what we demanded (OBC status for his community). Thus, we will first request the government to give it. We will first ask it nicely. We may also sit with government to solve this issue"
"We will also involve our Kurmi community in this agitation and try to get our rights," he said.
Patel's bail was approved on the condition that he stays out of Gujarat for six months and for three months after that in another case.
Dinesh Bamaniya, a leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and a close aide of Hardik Patel, said Hardik Patel had decided to spend the next six months at Udaipur in Rajasthan since it was closer to Gujarat.
Elaborate arrangements have been made by his supporters to make the most of the two days has been allowed to stay in Gujarat after release.
Patel is expected to cover 2,150 kilometres in the next 48 hours, addressing 12 public meetings, seven roadshows and two major rallies, PAAS spokesperson Brijesh Patel said.
“He will roughly address 1.5 million people in these two days in Surat, Rajkot, Botad and Viramgam, his hometown," Brijesh said.
With inputs from agencies.