With AAP unlikely to fight the Gujarat Assembly elections this year, the party’s face in the state Kanu Kalsariya is set to contest the poll as an independent candidate from Mahuva constituency under the banner of his Sadbhavna Trust.
“I had personally met Arvindji (AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal) and he expressed that the party is not likely to contest the Gujarat Assembly polls so that high command can concentrate more on Delhi. I asked him, if I can fight polls independently, and he has readily said ‘yes’ to it,” Kalsariya told The Indian Express.
For the past several months, AAP’s presence in Gujarat has been negligible. The party was conspicuous by its absence among public following the recent flood in Banaskantha and Patan districts.
Last year, AAP had announced that it would contest all 182 seats of the Gujarat Assembly. However, it changed the strategy after below expectation performance in Punjab and drawing a blank in the Goa Assembly polls.
“The party made many efforts in Punjab and Goa, but could not get desired results. We also lost in the elections of Delhi MCD. As the party did not get desired results in a state like Punjab where it could create an atmosphere in its favour before the elections, our leadership is not likely to decide to contest the Assembly elections in Gujarat where there is no such atmosphere. Currently, the party high command wants to concentrate more on Delhi,” Kalsariya said.
He also pointed out that AAP did not manage to develop a state leadership and the party has no Gujarat unit convener.
“It is also a fact that no (AAP) leadership has been developed in Gujarat. After Sukhdevbhai (Sukhdev Patel, party’s convener in Gujarat who resigned in 2015), nobody has been appointed to the post,” Kalsariya said. After Sukhdev Patel’s resignation, the party leadership had bifurcated Gujarat unit into seven zones. Kalsaria is heading the zones of Saurashtra.
Kalsariya, a former BJP MLA from Mahuva who had came to limelight when he openly opposed Nirma’s proposed cement plant in his constituency much to the displeasure of the state government then led by Chief Minister Narendra Modi, had contested the 2012 Assembly polls from Gariyadhar constituency of Bhavnagar district, but lost.
“Due to a mistake or over confidence, I contested election from Gariyadhar constituency in 2012 instead of Mahuva. But this year, I will fight as an independent candidate from Mahuva under the banner of our Sadbhavna Trust,” said Kalsariya, a surgeon who runs a charitable hospital, ‘Sadbhavna Trust Hospital’, in Mahuva.
AAP’s Gujarat in-charge Gulabsingh Yadav could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP has not contested any election the state.