Ahmedabad: With an eye on 2017 assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal on Friday met the victims of patidar agitation here even as his visit is being closely watched by other political parties.
The patidar community, which has a robust OBC vote bank, held large-scale demonstrations across the state last year to demand reservations in various government jobs and educational institutions.
Kejriwal's visit to the state, although not his first, is expected to give a huge boost to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members in the state ahead of the polls.
The AAP convenor was expected to meet the family members of those killed during the agitation.
These protests had turned violent with over a dozen people being killed and many others getting injured. He was also expected to visit the Umiya Mata temple, the revered deity of patidars, at Unjha in Mehsana.
AAP Gujarat in-charge Gulab Singh Yadav denied that this trip is to woo the patidar community.
"In Mehsana, Kejriwal will also meet the family of the murdered police constable, who hailed from the Thakur community and had been fighting the ban on liqour.
“There are also other groups of people whom he will meet such as labourers and diamond merchants.
“He will also meet the families of those who died in the recent spurious liquor tragedy at a village near Surat," India Today quoted Yadav as saying.
However, AAP seemed to be non-commital about granting patidars reservation under the OBC category.
"This is a very important issue. AAP stands by the provisions of reservation as laid down in the Constitution," Yadav was quoted as saying.
"This issue should definitely be discussed. One can agree or disagree with the issue, but discussions must be held on the topic so that a middle path can be reached or some sort of conclusion can be reached. Beating up protestors is no solution," he added.