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Amid rising BJP, AAP tussle in Gujarat, Kejriwal, Mann to hold town halls in Ahmedabad

The rising tussle between the ruling BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) reached yet another height after a team of civic authority tried to bulldoze a port of property belonging to a party plot owner who had lent the venue for AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s town hall. While AAP workers staged a protest against the move, Arvind Kejriwal termed it “BJP’s hooliganism” and questioned if the “country will be run with this hooliganism”.

An hour later, Kejriwal announced on Twitter that he will be visiting Gujarat with Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann to Ahmedabad on Sunday to hold a “talk with youth, sanitation workers and contractual employees”. The tweet added, “Today, every section of the society considers AAP as their hope.” This will be Kejriwal’s third visit this month and Mann’s second after becoming chief minister.

Also Read: AAP to announce Gujarat chief ministerial candidate at apt time: Sisodia

Earlier in the day, civic authority in Vadodara, a fortress of BJP, tried to bulldoze a portion of Preet Party Plot where Kejriwal had held his town hall in his last visit. The party could secure this venue after 13 others reportedly refused allegedly due to pressure from the ruling party. As the anti-encroachment team arrived at the venue for demolition, AAP workers sat in front of the bulldozer. Following the protests, the demolition team returned.

Later, party plot owner Navneet Patel told reporters that he was reportedly being threatened by local BJP leaders for letting the venue to AAP. It was alleged that the civic body never issued any notice. “I have been giving this space to BJP for years without any charge and AAP rented this place for their event. Several local BJP leaders had called me not to let out my place to AAP,” Patel told reporters. 

In the last couple of months, AAP led by Kejriwal has been highlighting their “Delhi Model” of governance with promises of free electricity up to 300 units, free education, better schools, free health facilities, and Rs 3000 per month unemployment allowance among others. Instead of holding mega gatherings, Kejriwal and his team have been targeting smaller groups such as teachers, health workers, advocates, and autorickshaw drivers, among others.

Recently, the party inducted its Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha as co-in-charge of the Gujarat election. He landed at Rajkot airport on Saturday for the first time as co-in-charge. He told reporters, “This election is going to be a direct contest between BJP and AAP.” Dismissing Congress, which has been losing elections for three decades, Chadha claimed that the “People of Gujarat will choose Arvind Kejriwal’s model of governance that includes world-class education, health facilities, free electricity.”

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