Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has cancelled his next visit to Gujarat after the BJP government of the state did not give permission for programme at the chosen venue.
Kejriwal, who visited Gujarat in 2014 in the run up to the general election, was expected to meet leaders of the Patidar community during his visit to the state, reported ANI.
The Patidar community has fallen out with the BJP over the reservation protests and the subsequent jailing of their leaders including Hardik Patel.
The community is adamant on its demand for quotas in jobs and education and is gradually shifting from its traditional loyalty towards the BJP.
The AAP, which is keen to establish its base in the BJP-ruled state ahead of the assembly polls scheduled next year, is now looking to benefit from the discontentment of the Patidar community.
According to reports, the AAP supremo was expected to reach out to the farmers besides local businessmen and industrialists during his visit.
Kejriwal, who has been extremely critical of Gujarat strongman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also expected to meet Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel, presently lodged at Surat’s Lojpore Central Jail on sedition charges.
The AAP chief had earlier this month dubbed the arrest of 23-year-old Patidar agitation leader as illegal.
In a video message posted on the AAP’s Gujarat Twitter handle, Kejriwal said Hardik, who has been in prison for more than eight months, had merely raised his voice for the rights of Gujaratis.
“Hardik Patel is in jail for the last eight months and he has been charged with sedition. People told me that they are very upset with this. What is the mistake of Hardik Patel? He raised his voice for Gujarati’s and fought for their rights. He never raised voice against the nation. He never spoke of breaking the nation,” he said.
Asserting that Patel’s demands were the same as that of lakhs of Gujaratis, Kejriwal demanded to know if the government would label all those as ‘anti-national’.