As Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, on his four day visit to Gujarat, tapped the anger of farmers who are upset at the unfair land acquisitions in favour of the industry, it was clear the fledgling party, while keeping focus on big ticket issues such as corruption, had also strategically decided to attack the incumbent governments on their failures in their home states on local issues.
So while Kejriwal attacked the BJP prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for unfair land acquisition in Gujarat, he slammed the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) for fomenting riots in Uttar Pradesh for political gains, and hauled the Hood government in Haryana for rampant corruption and gifting farmers’ land at cheap prices to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son in law Robert Vadra.
“We cannot go to different states with one issue that is corruption although it is the biggest plank on which we will ask for votes in the Lok Sabha elections. We have to have the regional issues of each state in mind,” a party leader told HT.
The decision to go regional in its Lok Sabha campaign is in contrasts to what the party had suggested when it decided to contest the general elections after the tremendous success it received in Delhi. “Our main planks for the Lok Sabha elections will be corruption and criminality in politics,” party leader Sanjay Singh had said on January 30 after party’s national executive meet in the capital.
The party first gave a peek into its strategy for the Lok Sabha election campaign when it attacked the Hooda government in its Rohtak rally on February 23 for the rampant corruption and raw deal it gave to its farmers. Even though Arvind Kejriwal hammered the congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi on their silence on gas prices and their relationship with Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani, senior party leader Yogendra Yadav, who is leading the Haryana campaign, concentrated on local issues.” You cannot get one single government job without paying bribe in Haryana,” he had said.
Again in its Kanpur rally on March 2, the party came out all guns blazing against the ruling SP government for its failure to control riots. Invoking Muzzafarnagar riots, Kejriwal said the riots do not happen but are made to happen in order to divert attention from bad governance.
“Clearly the party is concentrating on the most relevant issue here at present that is communal violence with an eye to present itself as the alternative to the congress party which until now received the minority votes,” Professor Arif Hameed, the head of political science department, Aligah Muslim University told HT.
Like UP and Haryana, the party has gone regional in Gujarat with party chief Arvind Kejriwal meeting farmers at the hub of protests that have unsettled the Modi government in recent times. The first meeting of Kejriwal with the farmers took place in the Mandal-Becharaji region which about a year ago had launched a fierce protest against land acquisition for Modi’s much touted special investment region. Faced with farmer’s agitation ahead of the Gujarat assembly elections, Modi had excluded 36 out of 44 villages from the SIR.
With Kejriwal set to visit other states we can now expect the leader to go for the burning issues of those states very much like it did during Delhi assembly election when it raised the issue of water and electricity in the campaign.