Even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat is looking to contest all 182 seats in the upcoming 2017 state Assembly elections, the party will be flagging off a special ‘NRI chapter’ in Ahmedabad on similar lines of its Punjab campaign. Delhi cabinet minister and Gujarat election-in-charge Gopal Rai on Thursday told mediapersons that its recent lackluster performance in Punjab and Goa polls is not expected to mar the party’s chances here as the recent poll outcomes had established AAP’s presence in national politics. A large political rally in Gandhinagar is slated to kick off the AAP’s Gujarat poll campaign on March 26th, 2017 which will be addressed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however party sources revealed that it is yet to get a permission for the rally.
While fielding a query on ‘funding’ sources for its Gujarat campaign, Rai who recently took part in a core committee meeting this week averred, “We presently have an Android app called ‘AAP ka Daan’ and the party’s website as funding avenues but we will also start a special NRI chapter like we had done in Punjab to raise funding at an international level. This would also be a platform for NRI Gujaratis who want to see a change in Gujarat from the current regime to participate in…Our first priority in Gujarat is to set up a strong organisation base and we have started with booth level mobilisation. We will also be hosting a rally in Gandhingar on 26th March for close to 20,000 volunteers and launch a mass campaign on the same day to connect with people across Gujarat. We have learnt from Punjab polls experience that our vote share was considerably high in places where we had a good organisation right from the booth level.”
Rai also reiterated Delhi CM and AAP Founder Arvind Kejriwal’s EVM tampering concerns and said that the party had received affidavits from villages in Punjab where people claimed they had voted for the party but their votes had not been counted. He said that party had appealed for voter slips to be tallies with Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) which was used in around 22 Punjab constituencies to look for discrepancies if any. At the core committee meet, AAP has also decided that to launch various cells for women, doctors, lawyers, farmers Adivasis, Dalits, students wing shortly, while party officials are slated to meet EC officials in the state on March 18th, 2017 to tender their petition to have voting through ballot paper in a bid to ensure ‘fair elections’.
Rai said that a common thread among poll results from across 5 states was that people had voted against incumbent governments that were not BJP thereby throwing nuking the Modi wave theory.” Gujarat will be the only polls where the BJP senior leadership will have to answer some tough questions of its people be it the Naliya sex scandle, the Patidar agitation or the issues of the farmers in Sanand against whom they registered false cases to muffle dissent.The BJP government here has not come up with any good policies to combat these issues. People in Gujarat want change….Most of the parties who have hitherto formed a third front in Gujarat have never succeeded because they only formed a rebel unit because they weren’t given a ticket, however AAP ideologically has an alternate vision altogether.”
On early polls in Gujarat, Rai countered that such rumours showed that the ruling BJP was not confident of a win and that BJP chief Amit Shah may stand to gain from a preponement as he may be a likely contender for CM post.