Attending the oath-taking ceremony of over 6,000 new office-bearers of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Gujarat unit in Ahmedabad, the party’s national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday called upon party workers to ensure that “not a single vote is cast for the Congress” in the Gujarat Assembly elections to be held later this year.
As many as 6,098 newly appointed office-bearers of the party took oath on Sunday at a venue in Ahmedabad’s Naroda in an event attended by Kejriwal, AAP Gujarat president Gopal Italia and senior leaders Isudan Gadhvi, among others.
In an apparent bid to secure the party’s position as the third front in Gujarat, Kejriwal exhorted his party workers to impress voters against the Congress and BJP. “We have to reach households in Gujarat and tell them about our work in Delhi and Punjab, how we have reduced electricity rates, and provided free education. We also have to tell people that there is no use voting for the Congress. Last time, they voted for the Congress, and today see how many Congress MLAs have left their own party. We have to reach each household and tell them they should not waste their votes on the Congress. The office-bearers of AAP will have to ensure that not a single vote is cast in favour of Congress this Assembly election,” said Kejriwal.
“Secondly, there are many people who are upset with the BJP and want to remove it. However, they hate the Congress and don’t want to vote for them. They don’t have an alternative and on voting day, they see the option of Congress and are then forced to vote for the BJP. The votes of all such people should come to us. If we ensure these two, then I say with conviction that the next government is ours,” added Kejriwal.
Recently, the AAP’s Gujarat unit was dissolved in a rejig ahead of the Assembly polls in the state. The party had announced a first list of 850 office-bearers with Gopal Italia continuing as state president. After a few senior leaders showed their displeasure towards the list, the party announced a second list of 6,098 office-bearers last week.
Kejriwal arrived at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on Sunday afternoon for a two-day visit to the state. On Monday, he will attend a townhall event on the issue of electricity rates in Ahmedabad.
“Today, we will take a pledge to serve the country, work with kattar (steadfast) honesty, and fulfill the dreams of Gandhi and Sardar Patel of Gujarat. AAP is a kattar imandaar party, we can tolerate anything, but not corruption. If our worker does corruption, he will be punished, if someone else does it, they will also face the same. We have not spared even our own in Delhi and Punjab,” said Kejriwal to his workers.
The AAP leader attacked the Congress party saying it has become defunct as the Opposition in Gujarat. He also took a jibe at the ruling BJP alleging that they have “paid workers” in their party. “Today, the Congress has no campaign on the ground in Gujarat, I have been told that it is doing nothing. I am happy that the AAP is expanding at this scale and, today I say with challenge, that our party is bigger than Congress’ organisation in Gujarat. Congress is only limited to papers, they have no office-bearers and workers left, and we have thousands and lakhs of people joining us,” he added.
“In the next month, we are going to expand to the booth level and every booth in Gujarat will have minimum 10 workers of the AAP. We will surpass even the BJP in organisational strength in the coming months. They (BJP) will say that Kejriwal is lying. I tell these parties that many of your workers are ‘paid karyakartas’. I have been told that they are hired at a salary of Rs 10,000 per month. With money, you can get workers, but you cannot buy patriots. We will be working 24 hours a day in the coming four to five months, ignoring our families and well-being. We are not doing this to sit in the Opposition, but to win the elections and form our government.
Kejriwal added that recently a delegation of BJP leaders from Gujarat had visited Delhi for an inspection of AAP-run government schools. “A delegation of BJP MLAs from Gujarat went to Delhi recently to expose the government schools of Delhi. I always invite such people and ask them to find flaws in our education model and tell us. However, the leaders were unable to find any flaw and they cancelled their scheduled press conference in Delhi. Later, after coming to Gujarat, they did not organise any other press conference,” Kejriwal said.
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