Face to face | Oppn propaganda painting AAP as radicals’ party harmed us in polls: Aman Arora | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Face to face | Oppn propaganda painting AAP as radicals’ party harmed us in polls: Aman Arora

In a course correction mode, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has appointed a suave Hindu face, Aman Arora, 42, its co-president in Punjab. To woo urban voters, particularly Hindus, who felt alienated during AAP’s campaign for assembly polls.

punjab Updated: May 22, 2017 08:48 IST
Gurpreet Singh Nibber
AAP Punjab co-president Aman Arora.
AAP Punjab co-president Aman Arora.(Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

In a course correction mode, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has appointed a suave Hindu face, Aman Arora, 42, its co-president in Punjab. To woo urban voters, particularly Hindus, who felt alienated during AAP’s campaign for assembly polls. Sunam MLA Aman, who has already hit the ground with a state-level programme ‘AAP apneyan naal’, says it’s a big challenge to resuscitate the party and boost the cadres’ morale who are lying low after the poll debacle. Aman talks to HT over various issues faced by AAP in Punjab.

Q: What are the challenges before the party at present?

A: Challenges are huge. We have to begin from scratch to rejuvenate the party. The morale of volunteers is low because (state assembly) results were not as per our expectations. There is a misconception created by our opponents that we are a party of radicals. That needs to be neutralised.

Q: Do you think radicals’ tag spoiled your party’s poll prospects?

A: Due to false propaganda by the Congress, BJP and Akalis that we are a party of sympathisers of radicals, urban voters, including Hindus, were distanced from us. We suffered in the polls. But there’s no truth in that propaganda. In fact, we are a party of all sections of society. We were never able to clarify our stand. Also, the blasts in Maur made voters wary of us and people voted for the Congress out of fear. We also suffered due to Dera Sacha Sauda’s support to Akalis.

Q: What next?

We would chalk out various activities for our volunteers to prepare them for elections to local bodies, panchayats, Gurdaspur bypolls and 2019 Lok Sabha polls. We are re-constituting party units from the state to ward level.

Q: In Punjab, AAP has diverted from its ideology of not adopting conventional nomenclature for party designations. Why?

A: It’s different political culture in Punjab. Unlike Delhi, people here don’t understand terms such as convener and sector and zone in-charges, so we have shifted to traditional way of designating our workers and leaders.

Q: You were earlier in the Congress. How was it different from AAP?

A: The Congress is a party of sycophants. It is difficult to survive in that party. In AAP, everything is evolving. I have a scope to prove myself. The party has given me so much and I have a role model in Arvind Kejriwal.

Q: Why Bhagwant Mann is in the backdrop while you are on the forefront?

A: He is in the US and coming back on May 28. Then, he would be actively working for the party.

Q:It is being talked about that you and Bhagwant Mann would work separately.

A: Yes. We have decided that Mann Saab would be the public interface of the party. He would address rallies and functions. And I would involve myself in organisation-building and interact with party workers.

Q: The ‘alcoholic’ tag on Bhagwant Mann is harming the party’s interests. How would you check this?

A: The issue was blown out of proportion in the media. The matter was discussed in detail between him and Kejriwal. I am sure Mann, who is a seasoned politician, would deal with the issue effectively.

Q: You have said that former AAP state convener Chhotepur should be taken back into the party. Why?

A: To take Chhotepur back into the party fold is a prerogative of the AAP’s political affairs committee. I had said that his removal was seen as an anti-Punjabi approach of the party.

Q: There are different voices coming from different quarters in AAP. How would you keep your flock together?

A: Differences of opinion are a healthy sign for growth. But when these start harming party’s interests, it becomes indiscipline. We are forming an effective disciplinary committee which would sort out lots of issues. In our party meeting last week, all leaders put up a united stand.