Ahmedabad, July 9: Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday (July 9) visited Gujarat with his family to pay obeisance at the Somnath Temple. The Somnath Trust banned media coverage of the visit for security reasons, said local sources.
It is for the first time that the media has been completely disallowed from covering the event for at other times, it is allowed to a certain level for the coverage. Authorities said the decision was taken at a time when a number of terror attacks have been occurring all over and they did not leave security to chance. The AAP, however, felt that there was a political ploy behind the ban. [Why AAP is working hard for Punjab, Goa and Gujarat polls but not UP]
Kejriwal's two-day visit to Gujarat during when he is expected to meet party workers, is seen as a preparation for the Assembly election scheduled to be held in late 2017. Gujarat is being ruled by the BJP for 21 years now and the AAP is aiming to make inroads in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by cashing in on the Patidar agitation. Modi served as the chief minister of the state between 2001 and 2014 before heading for New Delhi after the BJP won a massive mandate in the 2014 general election. [G Mission 2017: Will AAP be a threat to BJP in Goa and Gujarat?]
Kejriwal was scheduled to visit Surat on July 10 but the trip was cancelled after a trade body withdrew its invitation. The AAP considered it as an act which was done at the behest of the state government. Kejriwal even accused Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel of cancelling his Surat visit. He later tweeted saying though the CM got his visit to Surat cancelled but he was "called" by Lord Shiva to visit Somnath Temple.
The AAP has announced its plan to contest in all 182 seats in Gujarat Assembly.
Besides Gujarat, Kejriwal has also targeted Goa and Punjab
Besides Gujarat, the AAP is also eyeing two other states where the BJP is in power and will go to election in 2017---Goa and Punjab. While Kejriwal has already announced that his party would win 35 out of 40 seats in the Goa Assembly polls, he is set to visit Punjab on July 18, the seond time within a fortnight, to perform 'sewa' at the Golden Temple.