The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to contest the upcoming elections for the Sangli-Miraj and Kupwad Municipal Corporation, said party leader Preeti Sharma Menon on Thursday. While a final decision is yet to be made, the AAP leadership is leaning towards entering the contest, but only for a limited number of seats, Sharma said. “We have worked in the region over the last few months and built a strong presence,” she said, adding that a final decision about the matter will be taken soon.
During the 2014 general elections, the AAP contested all the Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra but almost all its candidates failed to save their security deposits. After the much-publicised split in the party, several leaders left its Maharashtra unit. The party had then decided not to fight elections at the state level, and most of its volunteers had worked in the Punjab elections.
Since 2014, the Maharashtra unit of the party has undergone major changes, with induction of leaders like Brigadier (retired) Sudhir Sawant. Party volunteers have also been active in the state and agitated on various issues like Right to Education (RTE).
Many party volunteers have been active in Sangli region and worked with Sangli Zilla Sudhar Samiti over various issues, Menon said.
Located deep in the sugarcane belt of western Maharashtra, the Sangli-Miraj and Kupwad Municipal Corporation is one of the few civic bodies which will go to polls before the general elections in 2019. The civic body is controlled by the Congress and NCP but due to defections from these two parties to the BJP, including that of Sangli MP Sanjay Patil, the BJP has managed to make significant inroads. NCP leader Jayant Patil is also from the area. Late Congress leader Patangrao Kadam was from the district but his influence in the urban local body was smaller.
Like in other parts of Maharashtra, many former NCP and Congress leaders are expected to join BJP en masse before the polls. But Menon said this will translate into “the same old people controlling the state of affairs with no scope for improvements”. “Just a handful of people are controlling the local body and the area is yet to see major development,” she said.
Once the AAP takes a final decision about the matter, campaigning will commence.