Buoyed by the success in the Delhi Assembly Elections, the Aam Aadmi Party is hoping to expand its footprints down South. The party is all set to contest in the upcoming Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) polls, which is likely to take place in August or September this year.
Party leaders in Bengaluru are now confident to contest in the elections and make an effort to replicate the Delhi success story in the city.
Speaking to Indianexpress.com, AAP state co-convener and BBMP campaign in-charge Shanthala Damle, said, “From the last 18 months we have started grassroot level works to contest the BBMP election, but now we have more hope and confidence after Delhi’s result. People in Delhi have voted for the good work done there. The same development model with a focus on local issues we will reach the people of Bengaluru.”
AAP had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2018 assembly elections in Karnataka but couldn’t win a single seat, hence the party did not contest the 2015 BBMP elections.
“When we contested the assembly election we could reach the people but many people wanted us to contest in the local election and do good work similar to Delhi. So then we decided to contest the BBMP elections. After seeing the Delhi development model of the party, I am sure that the people this time will recognise the good work,” added Shanthala Damle.
The party claims they have got supporters in all the districts of Karnataka and each ward of the city. The party has decided to field the candidates in all the 198 wards of BBMP and has already set up ward level offices to hear the grievances of the people and work on strategies.
The party has also launched campaigns called ‘Jana Samvada’ (Dialogue with people) in every street and in every ward of the city with the slogan ‘Hosa Ayke, Hosa Bengaluru’ (New Choice, New Bengaluru) “Party workers in the state will come to Bengaluru and also our election strategists from Delhi will come to the city to help us to build the party for the next six months. We have appointed incharge in each BBMP ward who is coordinating dialogue with people. We have launched a 40-minute movie called ‘Hosa Bengaluru’ (New Bengaluru) about our vision on the city and conducted 50 shows already,” Damle said.
The party created a lot of buzz when it unsuccessfully contested in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka. The party had fielded candidates in all the 28 constituencies in Karnataka. Candidates included former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan, former registrar, and faculty of National Law School of India University Prof Babu Mathew and child rights activist Nina P Nayak. In some Lok Sabha seats, the party candidates emerged distant third but none of them were able to give a tough fight.
In 2018 assembly elections AAP contested in 29 seats, but all the candidates lost deposits. The party could manage to win only 21,000 votes in all these constituencies. On the other hand, Yogendra Yadav-led Swaraj India bagged 79,400 votes in total from 11 seats it contested.
Meanwhile, political analyst and Professor, School of Social Sciences, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Narendar Pani, says as of now the AAP cannot make a mark in Civic body elections. “The party has to do more groundwork and it is soon to say how the party will make a mark in the BBMP elections,” Narendar Pani told Indianexpress.com
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