Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Buoyed by turnout at rally, AAP charts course for future

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi | Posted: August 5, 2014 2:56 am

Enthused by the number of people that attended its rally at Jantar Mantar, the Aam Aadmi Party is now looking for methods to consolidate its gains in the national capital over the next few weeks.

Sunday’s rally — which was called to protest against the BJP for stalling fresh elections in Delhi and drew large crowds at Jantar Mantar — is being read by the AAP as people swaying towards the party and growing increasingly discomfited by the BJP’s refusal to either form government or allow Delhi to go to polls.

Senior party leaders said internally, the party was thrilled with the response it had received. They drew parallels with with the same date — August 3 — in 2012, when Kejriwal had first announced that the AAP would be formed.

Senior leaders said the first step for the AAP will be to organise signature and door-to-door campaigns as announced by Kejriwal on Sunday. “We have given a week’s time for the BJP to decide to allow fresh elections, which as indicated by the turnout at our rally, is what the people of Delhi want. If the one week passes, then our volunteers will go from house to house with a signature campaign against the BJP. This system has worked well before, especially in the Bijli Paani Andolan before the Assembly elections. So a successful precedent has already been set,” a senior leader said.

Party leaders said it was important for the AAP to consolidate its gains, with the impasse on fresh elections continuing.

“Immediately after the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP was at its strongest. But even then they were not ready for fresh elections. In that time, we consolidated our support in the capital through mohalla sabhas and contact programmes. Now, the tide is turning because of the power crisis and other problems in the city. The AAP will now move into larger public events to continue to garner support for elections, whenever they are held,” a senior leader said.

While leaders said most plans were still at the “ideation stage”, many outreach options were under consideration. “For instance, one thought is that Kejriwal should visit all 70 constituencies again, like he did in the run up to the Assembly elections. This could take the form of a padyatra, which was hugely successful in the past, or the party may come up with something new. Local constituency level leaders will be told to continue speaking with residents and if the need arises, to take their issues out onto the streets,” a senior leader said.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Kejriwal attended an RWA meeting in Greater Kailash, where he listened to problems and reiterated the need for fresh elections in the city.

“The meeting was held in E block and Kejriwal was invited by the RWA. This ties in with the policy of party leaders reaching out to residents to consolidate gains,” a party leader said.

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