Renewed focus on farmer issues and highlighting the intersection of the Centre’s “anti-farmer” policies and drought will be the focus of AAP’s nationwide protests ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. This was announced after a meeting of the party’s national executive, AAP’s second highest decision-making body, Sunday night. The leaders also announced they would seek a loan waiver for farmers. The decision, they said, was taken as part of their “restrategising for 2019”.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh cited the instance of Maharashtra, “where they (farmers) are throwing away their produce in protest”, and Punjab, “where 60 of them have committed suicide since Amarinder Singh took charge.” He said AAP would also focus on Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, “where farmers aren’t getting their due”. He added, “Just like the government has written off loans of corporates, they should write off loans of farmers.”
AAP has also decided to replicate its organisational structure in Delhi and in other states. Since the defeat in Punjab, AAP leaders have admitted that there were problems in strategy. One leader said they put “too much emphasis on winning Punjab” while not “celebrating the fact that they are the fastest growing party in the state”. The decision to focus on the rights of farmers is indicative of the party’s change in tactics.
The world “alternative” has been coming up in almost all political discussions of the party. “We are looking at states where two main political parties — in most cases BJP and Congress — are competing for supremacy,” said a leader. He said the decision on whether to contest Gujarat would be taken next week, but they will not contest Himachal Pradesh. “The party is also looking to expand in other states such as Odisha,” AAP leader Ashutosh said.