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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Gram panchayat polls: AAP-backed candidates foray into rural politics, win 96 seats

Calling it a “spectacular debut”, the party said that 50 per cent of its winning candidates were women. “We will work towards empowering our elected representatives to demonstrate the transformative role that governance can play in these villages by making them examples of model villages,” said Dhananjay Shinde, AAP's state secretary.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: January 20, 2021 4:18:35 am
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Punjab Congress government, Leader of Opposition, Punjab Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, SDM office in Jalalabad, Jalalabad news, chandigarh news, india news, indian expressAam Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused Punjab’s Congress government of not allowing candidates to file nomination papers in the upcoming municipal bodies’ elections in Punjab. (Representational)

Tasting electoral success for the first time in Maharashtra, Aam Aadmi Party-backed candidates won 96 seats in the state gram panchayat polls, the results for which were declared on Tuesday. The AAP-backed candidates had contested 300 seats in 13 districts of Maharashtra.

Calling it a “spectacular debut”, the party said that 50 per cent of its winning candidates were women. “We will work towards empowering our elected representatives to demonstrate the transformative role that governance can play in these villages by making them examples of model villages,” said Dhananjay Shinde, AAP’s state secretary.

The party won 41 gram panchayat seats in Nagpur, its highest in a district, followed by 14 in Buldhana and nine in Chandrapur. It also won seats in Latur, Solapur, Nashik, Gondia, Palghar, Hingoli, Ahmednagar, Jalna, Yavatmal and Bhandara districts.

“At Dabkyal village in Latur, we have won a panel by winning five of the seven seats. It will be our gram panchayat in that village. In another village in Nagpur, of nine seats, BJP, AAP and unopposed candidates won three seats each. We are in talks with the unopposed candidates… a decision is likely tomorrow,” said Ajinkya Shinde, presdient of Aam Aadmi Youth Wing.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party, perceived widely as an urban alternative to traditional parties, said in a statement: “It vindicates our position and proves that people across the country are yearning for change and good governance… Our government in Delhi has set the bar for what good governance means and it is time that the Delhi model of development is emulated across Maharashtra.”

“Henceforth, we will participate in all local elections. The right way is to go local. Wherever we have won gram panchayat seats, we will fight from those talukas in the zilla parishad elections,” said Preeti Sharma Menon, national executive member and AAP spokesperson.

After its 2014 Lok Sabha poll debacle in Maharashtra, the party had contested a few seats in the Assembly polls held the same year. “We hadn’t really contested any election since,” said Menon.

AAP, which is set to contest civic polls in Mumbai in 2022, is also preparing for upcoming municipal polls in Kalyan-Dombivli, Kolhapur and Aurangabad, she added.

“This is only the beginning. There is an untapped groundswell of support as well as palpable anger against established political parties. We hope to further consolidate our position in the local body polls,” Menon said.

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