Updated: February 24, 2021 6:58:27 pm
Opening its account in the Gujarat civic body polls has proved to be a shot in the arm for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is trying to extend its footprint to other states. AAP won 27 of the 120 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation, dislodging the Congress as the main opposition.
In a release, AAP quoted party chief Arvind Kejriwal as saying that the people of Gujarat “have voted for politics of work as they were fed up by the politics of BJP and Congress. The people of Gujarat wanted an alternative and AAP has emerged as the key alternative to the present parties. Now the upcoming assembly election will be only between Aam Aadmi Party and BJP”.
Expressing his happiness at the party “breaching Modi’s citadel”, senior Aam Aadmi Party leader and chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said the citizens of Gujarat are looking for an alternative to the BJP, and AAP has emerged as their first choice.
Soon after the results were declared, AAP tweeted from its official handle: “AAP National Convenor Shri @ArvindKejriwal will visit Gujarat on 26th Feb, 2021. He will thank the people of Gujarat for believing in AAP’s Model of Development, in a grand Road Show.”
The result in the Gujarat civic body polls has come at the right time for AAP, as it gets ready to contest in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat in the next two years. The Kejriwal-led party has also tasted success in other unfamiliar territories recently — it won a panchayat election in Goa and an AAP member won the District Development Council (DDC) polls in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir.
In Goa and Gujarat, the AAP will try to build on its recent successes and do the groundwork for the next Assembly polls. In Punjab, the party will try to go the extra mile this time, having fallen short in 2017.
“It’s not just one or two weaknesses. There were several weaknesses. There were not just one or two mistakes, but several blunders that the AAP committed. I concede and acknowledge those. But we have become wiser. We have gained experience and learnt from our blunders,” AAP’s Punjab in-charge Raghav Chadha recently told The Indian Express.
He added, “The AAP will give face and candidate for the next CM of Punjab. That person will be from the 3 crore population of Punjab. That person will be considered to be the aan, baan, and shaan of Punjab, of whom every person of the state will feel proud.”
In Punjab and in Uttar Pradesh, AAP is looking to focus on the issue of farmers’ agitation. The party has already said that it would hold a ‘Kisan Mahasammelan’ in Punjab’s Moga district on March 21. Kejriwal is expected to attend the event.
The recent farmers’ protests have exposed discontent against the BJP in parts of Uttar Pradesh. BKU leader Naresh Tikait has suggested a social boycott of the BJP in the state. BJP’s Muzaffarnagar MP and Union Minister of State Sanjeev Balyan, and Buldana MLA Umesh Malik, among others, were recently met with slogans of “Balyan Murdabad” and “Kisan Ekta Zindabad” in Baiswal. It is this anger against the BJP that the AAP will try to build upon.
On February 21, the AAP government in Delhi invited farmers leaders to the Assembly for a meeting with Kejriwal, who said the three new farm laws will be a “death warrant” for the farmers.
AAP will also hope that its formula of providing free water and electricity, as well as highlighting the work it is doing in sectors of health, education and public transport in Delhi, turns out to be a successful poll plank in Uttar Pradesh and other states.
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