Hardik walks out of jail, says he wants Patels’ rights not ’56-inch chest’
Surat : Patel quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel today walked out of Lajpore jail here after nine months of confinement, vowing to continue the stir, and took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he does not want a “56-inch chest” but the rights of his community.
Stepping out of the jail after getting bail, 22-year-old Hardik asserted he would continue his agitation to get reservation for his community under the OBC quota and hinted at taking the struggle to the national level by involving the Kurmi community, which the Patels consider as their off-shoot.
Last week, the Gujarat High Court had paved the way for Hardik’s release by granting him bail in two cases of sedition and a case of violence at Visnagar MLA’s office during the Patidar stir last year. The HC had set a condition that Hardik will stay out of Gujarat for a period of next six months.
Accordingly, Hardik’s lawyers informed a local court that the young leader will stay in Rajasthan’s Udaipur city for the next six months.
“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,” he said. Modi had during a pre-2014 Lok Sabha poll rally in Gorakhpur said it would take a 56-inch chest to convert Uttar Pradesh to Gujarat.
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 get their right,” he said.
According to Hardik, the doors for discussion with the state government are open.
He indicated that the 10 per cent EBC quota for all the unreserved category granted by Gujarat government recently is still not enough.
“We indeed want to fully utilise whatever we have received (from 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,” he said.
The Patel quota agitation leader said, “We will also involve our Kurmi community in this agitation and try to get our rights”.
In an undertaking before Surat district and sessions court, Hardik’s lawyer Dilip Patel stated that Hardik will stay at House No 190, Shrinath Nagar on airport road in Udaipur.
“This is a temporary address of Hardik for next six months, as the High Court, while granting him bail last week, instructed us to inform the local court about his address for the next six months, as Hardik has to leave Gujarat within two days of his release,” said Patel.
Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the owner of the house in Udaipur is a former Congress MLA of Rajasthan Pushakarlal Patel, who invited Hardik to stay at his house.
According to the former legislator, he is the leader of the Patel community in Rajasthan.
“As soon as I learnt that the court asked Hardik to stay out of Gujarat for six months, I sent an invitation to his supporters and invited Hardik to stay at my house in Udaipur. Patel community has always stood by Hardik and his agitation for our community. He is like our family member,” Patel told a TV channel here.
He clarified that though he was a Congress MLA in the past, politics has nothing to do with his invitation to Hardik.
“I invited him because he is fighting for our community. During his stay here, Patel leaders will meet him and discuss the road ahead,” he said.