Surat: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal won't visit Gujarat on July 9-10, the Aam Aadmi Party said on Wednesday, accusing the state's BJP government of forcing a Surat university to cancel the booking of a hall where he was to attend an event.
The Aam Aadmi Party said this forced Kejriwal to axe his two-day visit to Gujarat during which he was also scheduled to visit Somnath in Saurashtra region.
AAP leader and Delhi legislator Gulab Yadav and state party president Kanu Kalsaria said the Gujarat Chief Minister's Office directed the Veer Narmad South Gujarat University in Surat to cancel the booking of the hall on the campus.
Alleging "this is nothing but political vendetta", Yadav told the media that Kejriwal was to be the chief guest at the July 19 event, which was not an AAP function.
The AAP said Kejriwal was invited by some leading businessmen in Surat to attend a function of traders from across the state.
"It also shows how much they fear Arvind Kejriwal," Gulab Yadav said. He added this was "cheap political tactics" and it would not deter Kejriwal from visiting Gujarat any time during the next two months.
Confirming the development, Surat Vividh Vepari Mahamandal (Federation of Various Trader Bodies) President Jay Lal told IANS: "Yes, we had invited Kejriwal to be the chief guest at an all-Gujarat traders meet here on July 10 but now the event has been postponed and not cancelled."
Jay Lal said: "We were not adequately prepared for the meet and so we had to put off the function. The university authorities have been intimated in writing about it and asked to refund the deposit for the hall."
Asked why there was such a tearing hurry to cancel the booking, as was evident from the way the letter to the university was written, he said: "I know what you are driving at. I will not make any comment on politics. Our even was non-political."
Lal said local rules barred goods trucks older than 15 years from entering Delhi because of air pollution.
"So I took up the matter with Kejriwal who agreed to meet us and promised to personally come to Gujarat to meet us. He was very cooperative. So,m we organised the traders meet."
Meanwhile, state BJP President Vijay Rupani ridiculed the AAP's claims that the ruling party had got the programme cancelled.
"The fact is they are trying to rustle up something here but soon realized this is Gujarat when they didn't get any support," he said. "This is nothing but a stunt for which AAP and its leader are known for."