Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal will make another attempt to woo Gujarat’s disgruntled Patidar community during his three-day tour beginning October 15.
This will be his third visit to the state since kick-starting the campaign for the 2017 assembly elections in August.
However, his latest visit may backfire as many from the influential Patidar community see it as a political stunt when the AAP has announced to contest from all 182 assembly seats in December 2017.
While the BJP is struggling to retain its key vote bank that is up in arms against the Gujarat government demanding OBC reservation, Kejriwal will visit the families of the community youth killed in police firing during protests in August last year.
As many as 13 people were killed following clashes between police and protesters after Patidars resorted to violent demonstrations on August 25 and 26 in 2015.
“On October 15, Kejriwal will be in Ahmedabad to visit the Patidar families who lost their kin in police firing. Later, he will visit Unjha and offer prayers to Maa Umiya, the deity of Patidars,” said AAP’s Gujarat coordinator Harshil Nayak.
Surat, the nerve centre of the Patidar agitation, will be Kejriwal’s focus for the next two days. He will address a rally in the heart of the Patidar dominated area on October 16 and meet local leaders and volunteers the next day.
However, the Delhi CM’s visits and meetings with the families of the youth do not seem to be going down well with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
“Why didn’t he (Kejriwal) come earlier? The youth were killed more than a year ago. His visit is nothing but a political stunt as the assembly elections are now approaching,” said Atul Patel, Ahmedabad convener of PAAS.
Atul added that PAAS might stage a protest against the visit.
Kejriwal had kick-started AAP’s campaign from Saurashtra during his visit to Somnath temple on August 5. He visited Gujarat again to pay tributes to Pramukh Swami, the religious head of a Swaminarayan sect, following the latter’s death last month.