After Delhi triumph, AAP says it will contest 2021 Chandigarh MC pollsUpdated: Feb 12, 2020 00:44 IST
Confident after its thumping win in the Delhi assembly elections, the Chandigarh unit of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday announced its decision to contest the municipal elections next year in November.
As jubilant AAP workers celebrated the win outside his Sector 20 home, party local convener Prem Garg told Hindustan Times here that they did not contest the previous elections in 2016 due to electoral compulsions in Punjab.“Since we were a new party, it was our strategic call not to enter any electoral contest here before the Punjab assembly elections.”
Saying he would not debate whether the decision was right or wrong, Garg added: “We are now poised to take the plunge in the local MC elections in a bid to strengthen the party right from the grassroots level and give the city residents a clean and transparent administration.”
‘Both Congress, BJP have failed to deliver’
A chartered accountant by profession, Garg said the people of Chandigarh were looking for alternatives as they had tested both the Congress and the BJP.
“In Delhi we have provided all facilities to residents but have not increased the tax burden on them because of our honest administration.The ruling BJP here has burdened the residents with one tax after another due to poor management. We are confident that Chandigarh residents too will give us an opportunity in the next elections,” he said.
Terming the unprecedented AAP victory in Delhi as a watershed moment in Indian politics, he said the vote was not for freebies but for AAP’s honesty and good governance.
Ward committees in three months
Meanwhile, AAP local organising secretary Vikram Pundir said their ward level committees will be ready in the next three months and the party will launch public connect programmes to increase its membership base and to engage with the public at large.
He said Delhi voters had shown a ray of hope to the nation. For the first time votes were cast without considering caste, religion or unfounded propaganda about religious intolerance. “We will repeat it here in Chandigarh too,” he said.
Did not capitalise on gains
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP fought its first election in Chandigarh, giving its ticket to city girl turned movie star Gul Panag and winning over one lakh votes.
However, even as it emerged as a strong third front, something the city had not seen earlier, the party failed to capitalise on its gains.
After Panag’s exit, it did not cultivate local leadership.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls AAP gave the ticket to new member and former BJP leader Harmohan Dhawan, a move that failed as it just polled 15,000 votes.
“We had made some mistakes in the past,” Garg admitted, adding, “we will no longer repeat them.”
On Dhawan being conspicuous by his absence at the celebrations, Garg said he was bedridden due to recent health issues but he was very much a part of AAP.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Chandigarh unit president Arun Sood said, “Delhi assembly victory does not mean that they have acceptability everywhere. Otherwise in democracy it is a political party’s right to contest from anywhere.”
Congress’ Chandigarh unit president Pardeep Chhabra said, “Chandigarh is not Delhi. Everyone has right to contest but we have a long history of serving the people and meeting their aspirations.”