The new state president of AAP’s Youth Wing, Harjot Singh Bains , kicked of a Nawa Punjab (Building a New Punjab) padyatra, from Sri Fatehgarh Sahib to the Martyrs Memorial at the Hussainiwala border, on Friday. The 25-year-old graduate of law from Panjab University, Chandigarh, tells The Indian Express about the party’s strategy to gain youth support.
The Youth Congress and other parties have also held such padyatras recently. How is AAP’s ‘Nawa Punjab’ different from the others?
The Nawa Punjab Padyatra is about building a new Punjab as per the dreams and vision of Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the youth of Punjab. We will be covering 280 kilometres by foot and reaching 100 villages. On the way, we will be telling people of how AAP will bring a change in Punjab if voted to power. We aim to reach the Hussainiwala border on April 5 where yatra will end with a tribute to martyrs Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev.
There were close to 4.7 lakh voters in the 18-19 age group during Lok Sabha polls 2014 in Punjab. AAP managed to win on 4 seats. What will be the strategy now to woo the youth voters in 2017?
The strategy is very simple. New voters are educated, alert and aware. All we need to do is present facts before them. I began my speech today by announcing the Swiss Bank account numbers of Captain Amarinder Singh’s son, Raninder Singh, and wife Maharani Preneet Kaur. There was huge applause. AAP’s youth wing will continue presenting such facts before the youth.
AAP has been claiming right away that youth in Punjab is with them but so have the Youth Akali Dal and Youth Congress. How can AAP’s youth wing prove its dominance?
The writing on the wall is that the youth are going to script a victory for AAP in Punjab in 2017. Actually not only youth, even the NRI community entirely supports us. These are two segments of voters who are educated and aware. They know what AAP can do and is capable of. They also know what SAD and Congress have done till now. The youth believe in good work and we have shown our calibre and capability in Delhi. The youth wings of SAD and Congress, as known to all, are more into hooliganism than youth welfare.
How will AAP include youth opinion into its manifesto?
We are soon going to start a Youth Dialogue and an Education Dialogue, under which, AAP’s youth wing will move to colleges and universities across Punjab and interact with students. After taking feedback, the justifiable needs of students will be included in the manifesto.
AAP has criticised SAD and Congress for wasting public money on advertising. But AAP is doing same now. It carried full page advertisements to highlight the achievements of its year in power in Delhi. Your comments.
We never criticized any political party for carrying advertisements. It is not wastage of public money. It is our right to exhibit and publicise our work. AAP will never walk the path of SAD and Congress ever.
You started off as a common party volunteer and now heading party’s youth wing which holds the key in 2017. How has been the experience?
I started my political career as a volunteer with AAP. The aim was to appreciate and join clean politics in a state ruled by the Badal clan. It was a big decision to join politics right after law graduation. Now, our aim is victory in the 2017 Punjab polls.