Following their stupendous Delhi sweep, AAP leaders are quietly rolling out a plan for testing the waters in Bengal. For starters, they have planned a unique helpline number where citizens of Kolkata can call for help in civic or law and order problems and a youth wing of college students and young professionals who will be trained in Delhi.
AAP leaders in the state, bubbling with energy after the Delhi results, have already identified the vexed question of provident fund defaults in jute mills and the closure of a medical college under the Union labour ministry in Joka for attention. The party will also put up hoardings soon to inform the public of its plans.
“The situation in Bengal is far different from that of Delhi. The response for volunteers is good after the thumping victory in Delhi. We are planning to consolidate our organisation in Kolkata and other parts of Bengal and then try to help the people. It is a new kind of politics we are trying to bring in here,” said Tauseef Rehman, an AAP leader from Kolkata.
Acutely conscious of the vast difference between the political landscapes in Delhi and Kolkata, the party is planning meticulously for a toehold, paving the way for contesting some seats in the 2016 assembly polls. “We are also planning to highlight various issues of Bengal, connecting with students and workers. There is a provident fund scam in the jute mills and we already had talks with some non-political unions. A medical college has been shut down by the Centre in Joka (set up and run by Employee State Insurance Corporation) where hundreds of MBBS students will suffer,” said Amit Rai, an AAP leader in Bengal.
Rai told HT they are not targeting the KMC polls this year though they want to contest in some assembly seats.
Talks are on with the Delhi leadership, regarding what AAP members call as ‘mission vistar’ (mission spread). Within the next few months, after the basic organisation set up is achieved, leaders from Delhi will visit Kolkata announce names. The toll free helpline number is on top of their agenda. Callers can approach AAP with any problem be it civic or of law and order, and AAP members will help them out including giving advice, and accompanying them to the authorities for redressal.
“Our members will help victim write petitions, file RTI and even visit the authorities with him. For instance we will approach a councillor or the mayor along with the victim. People will realise that we are trying to help them out and not only seeking votes,” said Rehman.
The party is also planning to launch its youth wing in the city, comprising college goers and young professionals within the age of 18 years and 35 years. Talks are on with Delhi leaders, for the training of these volunteers. They may travel to Delhi or trained personnel will visit Kolkata to impart training to them.
Within the next two months nearly 100 hoardings will be put in different parts of Kolkata for awareness, which will highlight the party and its ideals.