"I was put behind bars due to wrong policies (of Congress) and its wishful thinking that it will end the struggle of INLD. Rather, in my absence the party has strengthened," the 79-year-old Jat leader, who is behind bars after being convicted for ten years along with others in a teachers recruitment scandal, said here.

Chautala is presently out on bail on health grounds. He and his son Ajay have been sentenced to 10-year prison term after being found guilty in a teacher recruitment scam while others in the case have been awarded varying jail terms.

Addressing a rally here in the Jat heartland organised to mark the 100th birth anniversary of late Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, also popular as messiah of farmers, Chautala told the gathering that "your presence in large numbers here has obliterated the wishful thinking of Congress."

Taking a dig at his opponents for claiming that he will not be able to return to public life, Chautala asked his workers not to get afraid and asserted that he will become the next Chief Minister.

"I will take oath as CM from Tihar jail," he said, exuding confidence that INLD had been strengthened in his absence. Chautala, who appeared for the first time in a public meeting after his conviction in the JBT scandal in February last year, said he was not afraid of jail.

"I am not afraid of jail...the government sent me in prison by projecting me as a criminal," he said.

"The day I was born, my father Devi Lal was in jail...I spent time in jail for the cause of farmers, employees and also during the days of emergency," he said.

Chautala said he was not greedy for power. "INLD's only aim is to end mis-governance of Congress," he said.

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