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2013 bid a failure, AAP tries new push in MP via civic polls

Party claims it has over 2.5 lakh workers, fields candidates in 14 of 16 municipal corporations

Written by Iram Siddique | Bhopal |
Updated: July 4, 2022 4:33:57 pm
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a road show in support of the party’s Singrauli mayoral candidate Rani Agarwal on Saturday. (Photo: Twitter/@AAPRaniAgrawal)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to make an entry in Madhya Pradesh in the coming local body elections and has fielded candidates in 14 of the 16 municipal corporations. It has promised the electorate free electricity and water, and corruption-free municipal corporations committed to resolving civic issues.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a road show in support of the party’s Singrauli mayoral candidate Rani Agarwal on Saturday. In his address, the AAP convener said, “We will solve all the issues of the municipality, including roads, electricity, water, and employment with the support of the people of Singrauli. Both the BJP and the Congress are peas of the same pod. They both only care about amassing wealth when in power. The AAP doesn’t believe in gobbling up funds, we put money in the common man’s pockets.”

Referring to his government’s welfare schemes in Delhi, Kejriwal promised to replicate it in Madhya Pradesh by giving free electricity, free education, and free water, and developing the education system,

“We will change Singrauli in the next five years if voted to power,” he told the voters. “If I cannot walk the talk, I won’t show my face in the next election seeking votes.”

In the coming days, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, and Delhi MLA Atishi Singh are scheduled to visit Madhya Pradesh to campaign for the party’s candidates.

The AAP made its debut in Madhya Pradesh in 2013 but failed to make any impact in the state’s politics. Now, looking to expand its footprint nationally — after Punjab and Goa, the party is eyeing states such as Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Assam — it has decided to enter the poll fray in Madhya Pradesh.

AAP state president Pankaj Singh told The Indian Express that the party started off with two membership drives — Mission “Buniyad”, followed by Mission “Vistar” — to consolidate its presence in the state and has more than 2.5 lakh workers across the state. At present, the party claims to be in a good position in Singrauli. Its mayoral candidate Rani Agarwal grabbed attention in the 2018 Assembly polls by finishing third on the party ticket with a 21.59 per cent vote share. She was marginally behind the BJP’s Ram Lallu Vaishy who won the seat with 24.63 per cent votes while the Congress’s Renu Sahu finished second with 22.13 per cent votes.

Poll promises

On June 26, the AAP released its poll manifesto called the “Seva Vachan Patra”. Congress youth leader Akash Hunka joined the party on the occasion. “We extend a warm welcome to Hunka and his colleagues into the party. There are many leaders both from the BJP and the Congress who are keen to join the AAP as they feel frustrated in their respective parties with little scope to work for people’s welfare. If their ideology is compatible with ours, they’re most welcome,” said Pankaj Singh.

The AAP state chief explained that in every ward won by the party it would ensure free water, a library, and a mohalla (neighbourhood) clinic. Singh said 22,000 education institutions were shut down in 2018 and at least 42,000 schools did not have drinking water facilities as either handpumps or taps were not functioning. He alleged that only the schools run by BJP leaders and workers were thriving in the state. The AAP leader also announced that cleaning workers on contract would be made permanent municipal employees if the AAP got elected.

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The local body polls are being held in the backdrop of a heated debate between the Congress and BJP over reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). Along with the AAP, Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are in the fray for seven mayoral seats, a handful of councillor posts, and one panchayat.

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First published on: 04-07-2022 at 04:29:06 pm

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