Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal on Monday entered the ruling BJP’s strongest Mehsana fort in North Gujarat with his Tiranga Yatra, his own blend of nationalism and regional issues, to claim the people of Gujarat wanted change.
On his fourth visit to Gujarat after his party’s Punjab triumph and first to this region, Kejriwal’s procession received warm response in BJP’s pocketborough.
When the BJP had only two MPs in the country, one of them was from Mehsana, which is also the home district of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The saffron party has never lost Mehsana Lok Sabha seat, six of the seven assembly segments under which have BJP MLAs though one of them last year succumbed to Covid-19.
Addressing the well-attended Tiranga Yatra, Arvind Kejriwal said,“Our party members have visited different constituencies of the state and interacted with thousands of people. Gujarat wants change.”
Stating that the “Tricolour is our pride and flag”, Kejriwal had earlier urged people to attend the event. “Tricolor is our pride. Tricolor is our flag. Tricolor is our pride. Tricolor is our life. I will join the tricolor yatra in Mehsana, Gujarat this evening. All the people of Gujarat should participate in this – that is my request,” he tweeted.
Earlier, Kejriwal and new Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann had held a roadshow in Ahmedabad on April 2. Later, he visited Gujarat on May 1 and May 11 – during which he had addressed a rally in Rajkot and Bharuch respectively.
The AAP had first contested Gujarat assembly polls in 2017 but had drawn a blank. This time around the party’s hopes have been triggered by its performance in the February 2021 Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) polls in which the BJP won 93 seats, while the AAP bagged 27 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation election, the Congress scored a zero.
On Friday, Delhi deputy chief minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia announced that the party would contest the polls from all 182 seats in Gujarat. Sisodia had said with AAP contesting, “people of the state will have an option in the polls”.
After bagging a major victory in Punjab, the AAP is now expanding its presence in other states. In Gujarat, the AAP is standing up to BJP which has had a stronghold in the state for around three decades.