As Aam Aadmi Party’s three-day roadshow in Uttar Pradesh came to an end on Monday, the party strongly pitched itself as a viable alternative to non-BJP parties in the politically significant state with 80 Lok Sabha seats.
Despite being greeted with black flags by about half a dozen bystanders (allegedly Modi supporters) in Agra, party chief Arvind Kejriwal successfully sent out the message that only his party can give a tough fight to the Narendra Modi-led BJP. The idea came across not only in its selection of the route for the road show but also the direct attack by Kejriwal on the politics of riots in his Kanpur rally on Sunday.
“The party is aware it can’t fight the BJP where it is strong, so it carefully selected its road-show route covering constituencies that are not the BJP,” professor Muhammad Arif Hameed, head of political science department, Aligarh Muslim University told HT.
The constituencies falling on the roadshow route included Moradabad, Barielly, Unnao, and Firozabad, all Congress seats; and Hardoi, Shahjahanpur, Etawah, Mathura and Amroha , represented by the SP and the RLD.
“The party’s strategy is simple: To dent the Congress and SP vote bank,” Prof Hameed said.
AAP’s effort at winning the Congress’ and SP’s Muslim votes also came across in Kejriwal devoting a big chunk of his speech to riots and SP’s role in it.
“Riots do not happen but are instigated by political parties,” Kejriwal said. The solution he added would be to investigate all riots and punish the senior leader of the party found guilty.
Apart from launching a direct attack on communalism in Kanpur, the party also announced the induction of Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Rushaid, a member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, on Sunday.
(With inputs from Hemendra Chaturvedi in Agra)