The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is set to bring its most popular and recognisable face — Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal — to the hill state. According to party sources, Kejriwal is likely to address the AAP’s ‘Save Uttarakhand’ campaign in the state next month.
“We met Arvind ji in Delhi recently and he assured us that he will visit Uttarakhand soon. He will be addressing one of our rallies during the third phase of the Uttarakhand Bachao Yatra (outreach campaign) in June,” Anoop Nautiyal, president of the AAP’s state working committee, told HT.
Political observers say that the party is eyeing a wide electoral base in the assembly elections next year. They say AAP wants to appeal to the maximum number of voters in Uttarakhand, which is a small state and has the same number of assembly constituencies as Delhi (70).
“AAP lacks a prominent face in Uttarakhand and Kejriwal is like a celebrity brand ambassador for the party. So, bringing him here will help set the momentum for the 2017 polls,” said Trilok Kumar Uniyal, a Chamoli based political commentator.
Uttarakhand is scheduled to go to polls in January 2017, though the possibility of early elections cannot be ruled out, thanks to the recent political crisis in the state. AAP has dropped enough hints of fighting elections in the hill state, and has been busy building its structure at the booth, village, constituency and district levels.
AAP has been trying to send across the message of “good governance” by placing full-page advertisements about Delhi government’s work in the regional dailies of the state. It has also held screenings of short films regarding the public interest policies adopted by the Delhi chief minister through projectors in the villages and made pre-recorded calls to Uttarakhand locals in Kejriwal’s voice.
“We will help the people of Uttarakhand get rid of the mafia-raj (mafia rule) here by contesting the elections,” AAP’s national leader Sanjay Singh had announced at a rally in Haldwani last month.