Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party convenor Arvind Kejriwal will address a rally at the birthplace of Jijabai, mother of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, in Maharashtra on Friday. Kejriwal will address the rally at Sindkhed Raja in Buldhana district, and pay tributes on her birth anniversary, party sources said.
Every year, lakhs of people, mostly from the politically dominant Maratha community, gather at the place to pay their respects to Rajmata (King’s mother) Jijabai. Police had initially denied permission for the rally citing law and order issues, but the rally, slated tomorrow morning, will be held as planned after AAP leaders took up this issue with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and senior police officials, the sources said.
Afer the permission was granted, Kejriwal had tweeted in Marathi, saying “On the occasion of Rajmata Jijau Jayanti on January 12, I am coming to Sindkhed Raja to have a dialogue with the people of Maharashtra.” Marathas, who comprise of approximately 32 per cent of the state’s population, had taken to the streets last year, demanding reservations in education and job sectors.
The choice of the venue also underlines the agenda of the party, particularly in the backdrop of the recent turmoil in Maharashtra, where Marathas were pitted against Dalits after the Bhima-Koregaon violence. Kejriwal is expected to induct Brigadier (retd.) Sudhir Sawant, a former Congress MP from Konkan region, into the AAP, at the rally tomorrow, AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said.
Sawant is a Maratha. However, the AAP spokesperson said her party does not believe in wooing the Maratha community or any other community. “We do not believe in the politics of caste,” she added. “We chose this venue because we believe in the values of Jijabai which she imbibed in Shivaji Maharaj,” she said.