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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

AAP eyeing LS polls via street politics

Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 22, 2014
First Published: 00:27 IST(22/1/2014) | Last Updated: 00:35 IST(22/1/2014)

The avalanche of criticism from across the political spectrum, aimed at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s latest street protest, has left the AAP unfazed. And if political experts read the signs right, more such confrontations might be in store.

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While the party staunchly maintains it is a protest aimed at protecting the interest of the aam aadmi, the buzz is that the AAP has hit the Lok Sabha poll mode. The AAP is nowhere near admitting the buzz, but the party is smug about its LS poll prospects.

“We don’t think all this negative coverage will affect our prospects. In fact, it will go in our favour,” said a senior AAP leader. “You ask the common man how he feels about the police, in Delhi or anywhere else.”

On paper, the AAP protest was against Delhi police refusal to take action against an alleged drug-prostitution racket in south Delhi. But Kejriwal’s successful arm-twisting of the Centre ahead of the Republic Day might just work in his favour. Or so feel the political experts.

“Kejriwal knows the country, which already shares anti-police sentiments, will support him. And this could help him in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, even though it could hurt his government in Delhi,” said Professor Pralay Kanungo of Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

“The issue they have picked is certain to resonate with the people,” agreed Dr Sandeep Shastri, pro vice-chancellor, Jain University, Bangalore and national coordinator, Lokniti network.

In fact, Shastri even ventured on a small prediction: “They have come to power by portraying themselves as an alternative to the mainstream politics. So it is only natural that they will continue with their anti-establishment confrontational approach.”


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