Eyeing Patidar voters ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017, Aam Aadmi Party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will likely make an effort to meet quota stir leader Hardik Patel, who is in jail since October last year for alleged sedition.
Kejriwal, who is scheduled to visit Somnath and Surat on July 9 and July 10, had recently slammed the state BJP government for slapping sedition charges on the Patidar leader. He also stated that Hardik, convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), has the right to demand reservation for his community and that it is for the state government to resolve the issue.
The AAP leader is scheduled to address a gathering of party members on July 10 in Surat, which has a significant Patidar and migrant population. Poet and AAP leader Kumar Vishwas will also join the Delhi Chief Minister during the two-day visit.
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According to AAP sources, Kejriwal will make an effort to meet Hardik who currently lodged in a Surat jail. They said Kejriwal may use this “trick” as a valuable resource to gain political advantage over his political adversaries in the Assembly elections.
AAP leaders said that since a fair section of the Patidar community is unhappy with BJP, the Delhi Chief Minister will try win support of those who are upset with the ruling party. According to AAP leaders, the Patidars will feel more comfortable to stand with AAP than Congress as the community does not want to be seen with Congress because of historical reasons.
Meanwhile, Delhi MLA Gulab Singh Yadav, who is AAP’s in-charge in Gujarat, has already formed party units in all of 182 Assembly and 26 Lok Sabha segments. He is now working to appoint party in-charge at booth levels to set up as many network at the grassroots and give a tough competition to BJP and Congress in the state. There are a total of 45,313 polling stations in the state as per 2014 figures.
Yadav told The Indian Express: “As the party has decided to focus on Gujarat in view of the Assembly elections next year, we are working to ensure we have a strong presence at the grassroots.”