Citing weak organisational base in Mumbai, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided not to contest the Mumbai civic polls to be held in February next year and instead focus on the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections. AAP leaders said the decision was taken in a meeting last week attended by Deepal Bajpai, adviser to party’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal. “We were hoping that the Punjab and Goa Assembly polls may take place in January.
Now, it seems that the Assembly polls will happen only after the Union Budget in the first week of February. Since we want to focus on the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections, we have decided to stay out of Mumbai polls, which are likely to take place at the same time,” said Preeti Sharma Menon, the national spokesperson of AAP.
Menon added that the party did not have a strong organisational base in Mumbai. “We have only a handful of leaders in Mumbai. These leaders will be campaigning in Goa and Punjab. So, we won’t be in a good position to fight polls,” she said.
In August, by inaugurating the first mohalla clinic in Kurla (West), the AAP had virtually launched its poll campaign for the civic elections. Satish Jain, AAP’s coordinator for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), had even announced the party’s plan to contest all 227 seats in the BMC polls.
For the last one year, the Maharashtra unit of AAP has been targeting top BJP and Shiv Sena ministers over corruption and other issues.
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However, the party’s sudden decision to opt out of civic polls has not gone well with city leaders. “Certainly, a few leaders were of the view to contest polls as AAP has a good chance to make inroads into the city governance. But we must admit the lack of base in the city. Also, it needs a lot of procreatory work which was also not done by us,” said a party leader.
In 2014, after all AAP candidates lost their deposits in the Lok Sabha elections, the party had decided not to contest the Maharashtra Assembly polls.