Amid speculations of AAP planning to make a determined bid in poll-bound Gujarat to gain a foothold, party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday sought the support of the agitating Patel community to “clean” the politics of Gujarat.
Addressing a public gathering at Patel-dominated Piludra village here, the AAP chief said the village holds special significance as the quota agitation by the community started here a year ago, even as a little known outfit staged a protest over his remarks on cross-LoC surgical strikes.
Recalling that AAP could make a clean sweep in Delhi in 2015 Assembly polls with the support of the common man, Kejriwal sought to draw a parallel with Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption campaign and the Patidar agitation.
“I salute your courage, as I came to know that Patidar agitation originated from this village. Few years back, we did Anna Andolan against rampant corruption in the country. We asked the government to enact a strict law to curb corruption, as we did not have such powers,” said Kejriwal.
“Instead of fulfilling our demand, we were asked to form a government to bring such law. We were not taken seriously. As we did not have any other option, we formed a party and acquired 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi. This is the power of the common man,” said Kejriwal to a cheering crowd, mostly from the Patel community.
“Patel agitation started from this village. Now, I request you to start another movement to clean the politics of Gujarat from this village. We all have to come together to fight against corruption and clean Gujarat’s politics,” said Kejriwal.
He also raised the slogan of “Jay Sardar - Jay Patidar” several times. Kejriwal also paid floral tributes to Sardar Patel’s statue in Mehasna.
He visited Kaamli village of Unjha taluka of this district, where he met the kin of Nagjibhai, a constable who committed suicide allegedly due to harassment from bootleggers and politicians last month.
At the village, he also met parents of Kanubhai Patel, a Patidar youth died during quota violence last year. He then visited Unjha-based Umiya Mata temple, revered by the Patel community.
Outside the temple, members of a little-known outfit Rashtriya Patidar Sansthan, staged protests against Kejriwal over his remarks on the surgical strikes. Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel had yesterday issued a statement in support of Kejriwal.
“We should not oppose Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he is coming to meet the family members of those who died during Patidar community’s reservation agitation. He will tell the rest of the country about our plight,” Patel said in a message from Udaipur.
Later, Hardik through his organisation in Mehasna gave a memorandum to Kejriwal seeking his support to the stir.