Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Friday walked out of the Lajpore jail in Surat after nine months of confinement following bail granted to him by Gujarat High Court, and vowed to continue agitation, saying he does not want a “56-inch chest, but rights for his community”.
Hardik, after stepping out of the jail, told reporters that he has vowed to continue his agitation to get reservation for his community under the OBC quota.
In an apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ’56-inch-chest’ remark made during 2014 election campaign, Hardik said, “I want to say that I don’t want height, weight or a 56-inch chest. All I want is rights for my community.”
“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,” Hardik said.
Last week, the High Court paved the way for the 22-year-old leader’s release after granting him bail in two cases of sedition and a case related to violence at Visnagar MLA’s office.
While granting him bail in the sedition cases, the HC had set a condition that Hardik will have to stay outside Gujarat for next six months. As per the HC direction, Hardik will have to leave Gujarat within 48 hours of his release from jail.
Talking to reporters before embarking on a roadshow with his supporters through Surat city, Hardik warned all political parties against taking political benefits out of the agitation.
“This agitation is not a property of any political party.
No party should think of taking political benefit out of this.
This agitation will not stop just because I or someone else wants. It will only end when Patel community gets their right,” he said.
According to Hardik, the doors for discussion with the state government is open.
“During the next six months, we will engage in talks with the government on this issue. Our demand is still the same, that is reservation under the OBC quota. When time comes, we will analyse what we have lost and what we have achieved during the agitation and then respond in a proper manner,” he said.
“In coming days, we will take a proper decision in the interest of our community. We don’t mind if we have to sit and talk with government for arriving at a solution,” said Hadik, who thanked the judiciary for his release..