Anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare received an overwhelming reception at Ralegan Siddhi, his native village, in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district even though he reached there in the wee hours of Thursday.
Eager villagers stayed upbeat all night and as soon as he reached around 2am, they cheered loudly and burst crackers to welcome their hero.
The 74-year-old Gandhian was on Wednesday discharged from a Gurgaon-based hospital, where he was admitted on Sunday after he ended his 12-day hunger strike in New Delhi for a stronger Lokpal Bill.
Hazare was then flown to Pune where hundreds of his supporters had gathered to get a glimpse of him. From the airport, he was driven straight to his village, around 90km away.
Hazare is likely to participate in the 10-day Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, which is observed with traditional gaiety and fervour across the state.
On reaching Ralegan Siddhi, Hazare first went to the Ramdev Baba temple to seek blessings.
"I have come here to meet my villagers as they were eagerly awaiting for my arrival," Hazare said.
But after the long fast and the ensuing treatment in hospital, Hazare preferred to rest and appealed fellow villagers to postpone the celebrations by a day.
Hazare is scheduled to address villagers and receive felicitation on Friday.
"The celebrations and felicitation programme will be smaller in scale than the previous one. This is to allow him to recover fast," said Jaisinghrao Mapari, village council head.
Hazare had received a grand welcome when he returned to the village in April, after he ended his 98-hour fast against corruption at New Delhi's Jantar mantar.