Ahead of Arvind Kejriwal’s latest Gujarat tour, posters attacking him sprang up in the cities he is visiting, some placing the Delhi chief minister alongside Osama bin Laden, Hafiz Saeed and the Hizbul Mujahideen’s commander Burhan Wani.
“Heroes of Pakistan,” said the posters, hurriedly removed by Mr Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party.
Kejriwal has drawn strong criticism for asking the government to provide evidence of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes across the Line of Control against alleged terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir earlier this month.
Posters branding him “traitor” have been put up in north Gujarat’s Unjha, where he will meet families of those killed during the Patel agitation in Gujarat.
The posters were put in about half a dozen places in Surat, where the AAP chief will address a rally on Sunday.
AAP blamed the ruling BJP for the posters. Kejriwal, who reached Gujarat on Friday night for a four-day visit, accused the BJP of trying to “disrupt” his rally in Surat.
“This is not my rally but it is of the people of Gujarat. If they disrupt the rally, they will be playing with their sentiments. I hope they would not do that,” the Delhi chief minister said at Surat airport.
Kejriwal’s Gujarat visit focuses on Patels, the powerful community that has been loyal to the BJP for years, but now, led by the 23-year-old Hardik Patel, accuses it of betrayal. The Aam Aadmi Party hopes to be the Patels’ new choice in assembly elections next year.
Both Unjha and Surat, which Kejriwal will visit, have a significant Patel presence.
AAP sources claim they have secured the support of Hardik Patel, the face of the massive agitation by the Patels or Patidars to demand reservation in government jobs and colleges. He has been ordered by a court to remain out of Gujarat for six months after being granted bail in sedition cases in July this year, but his aides will reportedly be by Mr Kejriwal’s side.