A day after the national convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Arvind Kejriwal said that the party should not contest the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, Anjali Damania, the Maharashtra convener of the party gave a divergent view saying the party is planning to field candidates in 60-70 seats in the state.
Damania said that the party was looking at contesting from those seats where the party had managed to get over 50,000 votes in the Lok Sabha elections.
A look at the performance of AAP in the Lok Sabha elections in the state shows that it was abysmal, with almost all the candidates losing their deposits.
Candidates including Damania, social activist Medha Patkar and Mayank Gandhi performed poorly in the Lok Sabha elections.
Also, after the Lok Sabha elections, the party was rocked by infighting and many leaders displayed their unhappiness over the way the party was functioning.
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Farmers’ leader Wamanrao Chatrap, who had got 2 lakh votes contesting on an AAP ticket in Chandrapur, had left the party citing differences with the leaders.
Another farmers’ leader Raghunathdada Patil had expressed his displeasure about the way the party was becoming increasingly ‘urban centric’.
Damania had also put in her papers but was later persuaded to take back her resignation. To address the issue of infighting, the state executive committee of the party was dismissed and an ad-hoc committee was constituted to look after the affairs. Apart from Damania, Preeti Sharma Menon, Ulka Mahajan and Medha Patkar among others were inducted to the committee.
Party sources said that the district level committees would also be dismissed in the days to come and the party functionaries would be appointed by taking suggestions of active volunteers of the party. In many districts, committee members and official candidates were at loggerheads, which dimmed the chances of the party. Damania said they have convinced the national leadership to contest the upcoming Assembly elections.
“We have started identifying seats that we will be contesting,” she said. When asked about the differences within the party and the discord, she said the issue is being addressed at the right forums.