Gujarat elections: AAP’s headless campaign shows no sign of taking off
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Gujarat elections: AAP’s headless campaign shows no sign of taking off

assembly elections Updated: Dec 06, 2017 07:15 IST
Hiral Dave
Hiral Dave
Hindustan Times, Ahmedabad/Rajkot
Aam Aadmi Party,Gujarat Assembly Elections 2017,Vijay Rupani

The Aam Aadmi party had opened Gujarat elections campaign with a road show in Ahmedabad on October 02, 2017.

At a stone’s throw away from Aam Admi Party’s camp at Rajkot’s Nana Mavua Chowk, two back-to-back rallies by the opponents — chief minister Vijay Rupani (for BJP) and Patidar leader Hardik Patel (for Congress), happened during the last week of November.

But, little movement was seen in the AAP’s camp at the time teh rallies were being held. This, in a nutshell, presents scenarios of AAP’s low-key campaign in an election where the BJP is trying to retain its 22-year-old rule.

Cut to Ahmedabad. Carrying brooms and sporting ‘Nehru caps’ with slogan ‘main aam aadmi hoon’, a group led by Amjad Pathan goes door to door in Bapurnagar constituency promising to “bring change”.

“Ek vaar mat AAP ne, pachi jovo Gujarat ne (elect AAP once to see a new Gujarat)” they chant. As Pathan, AAP’s Bapunagar candidate, makes an appeal to voters to press the button for ‘broom’, others hand over two-page leaflets, the party’s election manifesto for the constituency.

Bapunagar, which has a significant population of diamond polishers and other workers, is one of the 30 seats Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s party is contesting.

Until March, the party was ready to contest all 182 seats.

Kejriwal was among the early birds to kickstart the campaign from Hindu pilgrimage town of Somnath and addressed Patidars in north Gujarat, the epicentre of the OBC agitation. He visited Gujarat four times between July and November 2016.

But the plans changed after disappointing results in Punjab and the drubbing in Goa. The party also lost its most credible face, Dr Kanu Kalsaria, who is now contesting from this seat as an Independent, saying his social organisation Sadbhavna Manch wanted to go him solo.

While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and arch-rival Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi have been leading whirlwind campaigns, AAP’s supremo has been missing from the scene.

“So far no plan regarding Kejriwal campaigning has come forth,” said AAP Gujarat spokesperson Harshil Nayak, three days before campaigning for the first phase comes to an end.

“We have been focusing on decentralised campaign. The candidates and workers have been taking care of their own constituencies.”

The party says it is contesting only from those seats where it believes it has a strong network of volunteers.

First Published: Dec 05, 2017 23:23 IST