After Tuesday’s landslide win, the Aam Aadmi Party has one thing in sight — the 2022 municipal polls. A consistent vote share of about 54% in the 2015 and 2020 assembly polls, party leaders feel, is enough indication that people are ready to see AAP in power at the municipal level as well.
“We will fight to sweep MCD elections. The way Delhi is structured, civic bodies need to work in sync with the state government. We aim to have our own leadership in power in corporations in the coming two years. Till then, we will cooperate with the party that is presently in power to make sure Delhi develops,” said senior party leader Jasmine Shah.
The term of the present municipal corporations will end in April 2022. BJP has been in power in all three corporations — North, East and South — since 2007.
In 2017, BJP was facing two terms of anti-incumbency and was rattled by a series of strikes by employees who were not getting their salaries regularly. In the run up to the polls, the party decided not to repeat a single councillor, a move that paid off. AAP came a distant second and Congress third.
Just two years after AAP got 54% of the total votes polled in Assembly elections, its vote share reduced to around 26% in municipal polls.
According to party leaders, one of the biggest reasons for the defeat in 2017 was its focus on Punjab elections earlier in the year, and the failure to see the resurgence in Congress’s support.
The newfound focus on municipal polls stems from the decision to not repeat the mistakes made in 2017.
“In the beginning, the party was completely focussed on winning Punjab polls and municipal polls were ignored. Once we lost in Punjab, the morale of the cadre was also low. Added to this was our failure to see that the Congress was surging ahead of us,” a senior party leader said.
There are several existing projects as well as many in the pipeline that require close coordination between the state government and the municipal corporations. This includes road design and repair, schooling, and sanitation.
In an interview to The Indian Express last week, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had said that the new government they form will have sanitation as a priority agenda. He had said that they will look at a project-specific funding for sanitation projects to ensure that funds are not diverted.
“Municipal polls are very important for us as they will give us a chance to demonstrate what we can do if the state government machinery and the corporations work together,” said a party leader.
Leaders said a decision has been made in meetings of the Political Affairs Committee that the party will invest time and money in areas where the party has a growing and reliable worker base. Also, the party is keen on keeping its focus on all Delhi elections to ensure it builds a loyal voter base that does not abandon it for another party in elections other than the assembly polls.
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