AAP alleges Gujarat govt harassment, cancels Kejriwal’ state visit
AAP alleged that the Anandiben Patel government threatened members of Surat Vyapari Mandal, which had organized a meeting with Kejriwal at Vir Narmad University Hall in Surat on the second day of his tour.india Updated: Jun 29, 2016 22:55 IST
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal cancelled on Wednesday his two-day visit to Gujarat after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the state’s BJP government of browbeating organisers to call off his main event in Surat on July 10.
The AAP cried political vendetta, alleging that the Anandiben Patel government put pressure on organisers Surat Vyapari Mandal to cancel the booking of an auditorium at Veer Narmad South Gujarat University, where Kejriwal was supposed to speak.
“The organisers in Surat were threatened by the government. They feared losing business. So they had to cancel the event,” state AAP leader Kanu Kalsaria said. “That is why the party had to cancel the entire Gujarat tour of Kejriwal.”
The ruling BJP dismissed the allegation as “another publicity stunt” of the AAP.
“It was a two-day tour. Has BJP stopped him from offering prayers at Somnath temple too? They got publicity by announcing the tour and now they are seeking publicity by cancelling it,” party spokesperson Bharat Pandya said.
The AAP leader’s proposed tour was viewed as the party’s attempt to test the political pulse in the BJP-stronghold state where polls are due in 2017. The party is trying to woo the state’s disgruntled Patel community, which has been at loggerheads with the government for reservation in jobs and education.
Kejriwal had shared a video on social media in support of Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, who is in jail facing sedition charges.
The party’s Delhi lawmaker Gulab Yadav said “cheap political tactics” would not deter Kejriwal from visiting Gujarat any time during the next two months.
“This is nothing but political vendetta. It only shows how much they fear Kejriwal,” he said.
The Delhi chief minister was to begin his trip from Somnath in Saurashtra, addressing farmers at three places en route.
The AAP said the entire trip was called off because the event in the textile city of Surat had to be cancelled. “Since the main event got cancelled, there was no point in going ahead with the previous day’s programmes,” Kalsaria said.
(With agency inputs)