People of Gujarat want a political change and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is the only "medicine" to "cure" the BJP, AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal said here on Monday as he raised the pitch for the AAP trying to pose a challenge to the ruling party in the elections due later this year.
Addressing AAP's "Tiranga Yatra" cum roadshow in Mehsana city atop an open vehicle, Kejriwal said the BJP is scared only of his party because it is "honest and patriotic".
He alleged that BJP resorted to hooliganism when people speak against the ruling party. Kejriwal said thousands of people have told AAP leaders during the "parivartan yatra" -- a three-week statewide mass outreach campaign that covered all the 182 Assembly constituencies-- that they wanted a change in Gujarat.
"Gujarat is looking for a change. Gujarat is fed up with the BJP and its sister Congress. Wherever we went (during the 'parivartan yatra'), everyone knew about the good works done by the AAP government in Delhi," said Kejriwal, flanked by AAP leaders from Gujarat and Mahesh Vasava of ally Bharatiya Tribal Party.
He demanded that the BJP government in Gujarat pay Rs 1 crore to the kin of martyred soldiers hailing from the state along the lines of the AAP government in Delhi.
"During the 'Parivartan Yatra', people told AAP leaders that BJP resorted to hooliganism for speaking against the party. There is no need to be scared. Gujarat is going to bring a change. There is only one medicine to cure the BJP--and that is AAP. The BJP is scared only of AAP and none else," he said.
Kejriwal alleged that Gujarat BJP president CR Paatil is "the real chief minister" who is running the government while Bhupendra Patel is the CM only in name.
In his recent address, Paatil had termed Kejriwal a "maha thug" (cheat) without taking his name. Referring to it, Kejriwal dared Paatil to address him by his name.
"Why are you shy and scared of taking my name?" he asked Paatil. "Is Kejriwal a 'maha thug' because he constructed schools and hospitals, and provided free and 24-hour electricity? Isn't CR Paatil a 'maha thug?" he questioned, adding that the BJP is scared of AAP because the latter is a patriotic and honest party.
Kejriwal claimed that people across Gujarat are joining AAP in large numbers as the party's organisation is getting stronger at village, city and booth levels.
Referring to a protest organised on Monday by ex-servicemen at state capital Gandhinagar for a slew of demands, Kejriwal demanded that the Gujarat government fulfil their demands and also ensure that kin of martyred soldiers are paid Rs 1 crore as being done by the Delhi government.
"On the behalf of ex-servicemen, I appeal to the Gujarat government to accept their demands," he added. This was Kejriwal's fourth visit to Gujarat, where elections are due in December this year, in the last three months.
The AAP is trying to project itself as an alternative to the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the saffron bastion, for the December polls.