In the battle for the Lok Sabha, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to take on the ruling party in every state, even though its official focus remains on big ticket issues like corruption.
So while in Gujarat, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal attacked chief minister Narendra Modi for land acquisition, the Samajwadi Party was censured for “fomenting riots” in Uttar Pradesh, the Hooda government in Haryana was hauled up for rampant corruption.
The decision to go regional is in contrast to the party’s initial gameplan — which was to focus on corruption and criminality in politics. Explaining the rationale, a party leader said, “We cannot go to different states with one issue, which is corruption, although it is our biggest plank. We must have the regional issues of each state in mind.” The first glimpse of the strategy shift came when the party attacked the Hooda government in its Rohtak rally on February 23 for corruption and the raw deal to farmers.
While Kejriwal took on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Modi for their silence on gas price hike and relationship with Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, senior AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, who is leading the campaign in Haryana, pointed out, “You cannot get a single government job without paying a bribe in Haryana”.
Again, in Kanpur on March 2, the party came with all guns blazing against the ruling SP government for its failure to control riots.
Riots do not happen but are made to happen in order to divert attention from bad governance, Kejriwal had said. “Clearly the party is concentrating on the most relevant issue here at present, which is communal violence, with an eye to present itself as the alternative to the Congress which till now received the minority votes,” said Professor Arif Hameed, head of political science, Aligarh Muslim University.
The party has gone regional once again in Gujarat, with Kejriwal meeting farmers of Mandal-Becharaji region, whose protests against land acquisition a year ago had unsettled the Modi government.
Faced with the agitation ahead of the assembly elections, Modi had to drop 36 of the 44 villages earmarked for the much touted special investment region.