Ahmedabad: Massive welcome celebrations await Patidar reservation spearhead Hardik Patel, who is expected to return on Friday after over nine months in jail, even as posters screaming, ‘Gabbar is Back’ have come up across Rajkot and Surat cities.
After the Gujarat High Court granted him bail in two sedition and one arson-related cases during the agitation demanding reservations for the Patel community, he will be released from Lajpore Jail in Surat on Friday amidst huge fanfare.
Hardik’s supporters have made elaborate arrangements to encash the two days he has been allowed to stay in Gujarat after his release. The Gujarat High Court has granted him bail on the condition that he stays out of the state for six months.
“Hardik would set up a record of sorts, covering 2150 km in 48 hours, address 12 public meetings, seven roadshows and two maha-rallies. He would meet roughly 1.5 million people in these two days,” according to Brijesh Patel, spokesperson of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Saurashtra. He would spend maximum time in Surat, Rajkot, Botad and Viramgam — his home town.
There are plans to welcome in Viramgam with a shower of flowers from a helicopter. He has been allowed to visit his hometown to collect his belongings before he leaves the state for the six-month exile and an additional three months out of Mehsana in North Gujarat.
He would appear in Ahmedabad sessions court on July 16 to submit a fresh affidavit according to the directives of the high court.
His family members will reach Lajpore jail in Surat on Friday morning. “Girls from Patidar community will welcome Hardik outside the jail and then he will be taken across Surat city in a massive procession,” Dharmik Malaviya, PAAS convener in Surat, said.
Meanwhile, it is not clear if permissions for the procession and rally in Surat would be granted. PAAS representatives and local administration were discussing the matter till Thursday evening.
“We are being told that the Chief Minister is going to be in Surat for several scheduled public functions and it would be difficult to grant permission. However, she herself is daughter of a Patel and we are sure she would respect the feelings of the community and let us celebrate this event on a grand scale,” Dinesh Bhamaniya, PAAS leader and close aide of Hardik told mediapersons.
The state government said it was monitoring the activities of Hardik’s supporters.
“We have withdrawn cases against them and facilitated their bail according to the law. Now it is the responsibility of everyone to follow the law,” Nitin Patel, senior Cabinet minister in Anandiben Patel government and spokesperson said on Thursday.