AAP's 2024 poll campaign to focus on Manish Sisodia arrest in excise policy case
AAP leader and Delhi minister Gopal Rai said the party has trained representatives from 250 wards in the Capital to conduct door-to-door campaigns, highlighting BJP’s alleged abuse of central agencies.
With a year to go for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is planning to launch campaigns in Delhi and other states centred on the arrest of senior leader Manish Sisodia, a senior party functionary aware of the development said on Thursday.
Sisodia, the former Delhi deputy chief minister who held the additional portfolios of education and excise, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on February 26 in connection with alleged irregularities in the Delhi excise policy 2021-22. On Thursday, a day before his bail hearing, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on money laundering charges in connection with the excise case. Sisodia has denied the charges against them, and the AAP has termed his arrest a politically motivated witch-hunt.
An AAP leader, on condition of anonymity, said, “Sisodia has earned a huge reputation due to his work in the education sector. Even those who think that Sisodia did some wrongdoing, feel that there was no need for an arrest when he was fully cooperating with investigating agencies.”
Also read: ‘People are watching…’: Kejriwal as Sisodia arrested by ED in excise policy case
The leader added, “We are planning an aggressive door-to-door campaign in Delhi. AAP volunteers will talk to each household and request them to sign a protest letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
AAP leader and Delhi minister Gopal Rai said the party has trained representatives from 250 wards in the Capital to conduct door-to-door campaigns, highlighting BJP’s alleged abuse of central agencies. The teams will start the campaign from March 13, Rai said.
Though the AAP runs two state governments with clear mandate — Delhi and Punjab — the party does not have a single Lok Sabha member, and has thus decided to kick-off preparations for the 2024 polls early, the AAP official said. To be sure, the AAP also has legislators in the Goa and Gujarat assemblies, and has become eligible for “national party” status.
The AAP leader quoted above said that according to a survey the party conducted last week, in which 5,200 voters from 11 assembly constituencies participated, “83.6% people strongly opposed Sisodia’s arrest”. The party is now planning to conduct a dipstick survey to assess Sisodia’s popularity in other states. “Campaigns will be carried out around Sisodia wherever he is found to be popular. We feel that BJP has scored an own goal by getting Sisodia arrested,” said the AAP leader.
According to the leader, the AAP believes that by making Sisodia’s arrest a political issue, the party can reach out to the parents of about 1.8 million students enrolled in Delhi’s government schools.
“1.8 million children study in Delhi’s government schools. Their families, along with the families of the 700,000 children who passed out of these schools during the AAP regime, are connected with Sisodia. Additionally, Sisodia did not let many private schools increase their fees. Parents of children studying in these private schools are also connected to Sisodia,” the AAP leader said.
The leader said that the now-scrapped excise policy also had many supporters as it made high-quality liquor available in Delhi at cheaper rates.
“The aborted liquor policy has many supporters because during that period, liquor became very cheap and all international brands were easily available. People now have to go to Gurugram to get international brands of their choice. The number of people peeved with the withdrawal of the liquor policy is not small,” the AAP leader said.
The BJP hit back, saying the AAP’s surveys on Sisodia are fake.
“The AAP conducts fake surveys and makes wild claims. In the Gujarat elections, they claimed that they were going to win the assembly election. In the MCD elections, they claimed they were going to win by a huge margin, but that did not happen. Now, the AAP has become synonymous with corruption, and however hard they may try, Manish Sisodia and (jailed former minister) Satyendar Jain will become the cause of their debacle in the next Lok Sabha and other polls as well,” Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said.