By Praveen Dwivedi
The Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) success in Gujarat municipal polls last week was followed by an impressive show in the local body polls in the state on Tuesday when it secured 42 seats.
The AAP leaders in Gujarat claimed that after receiving support from the people, the party plans to project itself as the main opposition in the state, replacing the Congress.
In its debut elections in the state, the party secured victory in all the segments under the district – Nagar Palika, Taluka Panchayat and District Panchayat. Last week, the AAP had already won 27 seats in municipal elections. The AAP had fielded 2,000 candidates for 9,000 seats for the local body polls.
Gujarat in-charge of the party Gulab Singh told IANS, “10 days before, we were not in a position to say clearly what is going to happen? But, now we can say that we our party has been established in the state. We picked up issues of people and raised it wherever it was possible. Though, we were not in any institutions (Assembly of Municipal bodies), but we played the role of Opposition on roads, faced water cannon and lathicharge from the police. Now we are confident that our strategy was successful and secured victory which will setup roadmap for Assembly polls.”
Riding on the victory in the local body polls, party leaders believe that they have 20 months to establish the party as the main Opposition. After winning two consecutive elections in the state, the party will now work on to increase the membership.
AAP leadership in Gujarat said that the party is set to launch a month-long membership drive across the state. The idea of membership drive is one of the key plans which the local leadership has shared with party head Arvind Kejriwal during his Surat visit on February 28.
On claim of establishing the party as the main Opposition replacing the Congress, Singh said, “Congress maintained complete silence for the last 30 years and allowed the BJP to continue its corrupt policies. People here are fed up with corruption. The Opposition is considered to be the voice of the people but the Congress did not raise their concerns. Also, since the election process began, many local and district level leaders from the Congress have joined AAP. Dinesh Kacchariya, a two time municipal councillior joined AAP on February 28. Around 20 Congress leaders have joined AAP and many more are likely to join.”
“As of now, there was not even a single representative of AAP in Gujarat, but today people have supported the party and shown their trust in us. We will take this opportunity to establish the party as an alternative in the state,” said Gopal Italia, head of Gujarat AAP unit.