Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll: AAP looking to redeem itself
A meeting of party MLAs and office-bearers has been convened at Chandigarh on Thursday to discuss the poll strategy and assign duties.punjab Updated: Sep 13, 2017 18:48 IST
It took Punjab by storm in the 2014 parliamentary polls, winning four of 13 seats, and many expected the party to sweep to power in the assembly elections early this year. But the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) failed to live up to expectations and only emerged as a distant second on debut. The Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll is a chance for the party to redeem itself.
The party leaders have been far from content with the assembly poll results, saying they lost a winning battle. Now, showing some semblance of unity after the post-poll fireworks, the party is already in poll mode.
A meeting of party MLAs and office-bearers has been convened at Chandigarh on Thursday to discuss the poll strategy and assign duties. “We will have a clean and educated candidate from Gurdaspur. The name will be announced in 3-4 days,” said leader of opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
A three-member committee, comprising Khaira, state unit president Bhagwant Mann and co-president Aman Arora, has been asked to send names of probable candidates. AAP national convener and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, who is attending a 10-day Vipassana meditation camp in Maharastra, has “authorised” the apex body, political affairs committee, to take the call.
In its campaign, the AAP plans to go all-out against the Congress and the SAD-BJP combine, focusing on corruption, farmer suicides, atrocities on Dalits and the unfulfilled poll promises. “Akalis had looted Punjab and the Congress government has proved to be an extension of their regime. Only party flags and colours of turbans of leaders have changed,” said Khaira.
The party’s past performance in the constituency makes it an uphill task. Sucha Singh Chhotepur, party nominee in 2014 LS elections, was a distant third with 1.73 lakh votes and has been ousted since. In the state polls, all its candidates, except one, lost deposit in assembly segments that fall in the parliamentary seat. Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi, who was third in Batala with 34,302 votes, also quit four months ago. The party leaders still want to give the bypoll their best shot nevertheless.