In the bipartisan political set up of Gujarat, where parties other than Congress and BJP have failed to make a mark so far, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) is trying to step in as the third alternative for the people in the Lok Sabha polls. The AAP is confident that breaking the jinx, it would emerge as an alternative to both the BJP and the Congress in the coming elections, party state convener Sukhdev Patel said.
The state has witnessed formation of many small and big political parties since its inception in 1960, but those parties have fizzled out due to lack of electoral success, a trend which is in contrast to many other Indian states, where regional parties are becoming stronger day-by-day.
Former Chief Minister Chimanbhai Patel had formed his Kisan Mazdoor Lok Paksh (KIMLOP), but it did not take off as expected. Later, he along with Chabbildas Mehta formed Janta Dal (Gujarat) also merged it with the Congress party.
Another ex-Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela, dividing the BJP formed his own party called Rashtriya Janta Party (RJP), which he later amalgamated into the Congress due to lack of electoral success. Third former CM Keshubhai Patel formed the Gujarat Parivartan Party (GPP) just before the 2012 elections but now is on the verge of merging with BJP after his announcement to retire and other members mulling to rejoin BJP.
Many other small parties were formed but did not survive in Gujarat. Also, neither Left or other regional parties like Shiv Sena which tried to spread its wings met any success. “Its true that no third party has survived in the state except BJP and Congress..we accept it, but AAP is different than political parties which were created earlier,” Patel said.
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“In the past, dissidents of BJP or Congress had revolted to form political parties as they felt that injustice have
been meted out to them. They could not succeed in elections and all the parties formed by them had to wind up,” he said. “AAP is different, as it is not a regional party but a national party, formed with a view to give a corruption-free governance,” Patel said.
“If membership drive before the Lok Sabha elections are any indication, we have so far been able to register four lakh people from Gujarat, which shows that general public is not happy with either the ruling BJP or Congress,” Patel said. “There is a match fixing between Congress and BJP and that is the reason people are coming in large number to join us,” he said.
The Congress and BJP have however, dismissed the possibility of AAP emerging as a thrid party in the state
‘defying history’. “In the history of this state, it has not accepted any third party, unlike in many other states. They might get some benefit of their stance against corruption, but the party has not yet made any mark in Gujarat,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said.
A BJP leader said, “Any number of parties are welcome to fight elections here, but the historical trend has been that the state has accepted a two-party system and rejected the third party outrightly.”