Delhi victory gives fuel to AAP’s national dream
The overwhelming scent of a landslide victory in Delhi on Tuesday started tempting Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party to make another attempt to go national.
Kejriwal had fielded candidates in the Lok Sabha elections of May last year after a good show in the 2013 assembly election, its first electoral test where it won 28 of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly.
He even sacrificed his government – 49 days after occupying the chief minister’s post – to take his party beyond the limits of Delhi but failed to survive a Modi wave sweeping across the country.
The AAP stood second in all seven seats of Delhi and won four in Punjab in the Lok Sabha elections.
Kejriwal had subsequently admitted the party’s decision to test electoral waters without organisational support was a tactical mistake.
“There is a political vacuum in the country waiting to be filled by a new entrant. We will certainly strive to fill that vacuum,” AAP leader Yogendra Yadav told a news channel.
He said the AAP would soon take a call on Bihar, where elections are due this year.
The AAP might not be in a hurry to take a call on Bihar – where main players the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal are planning a merger to take on the BJP – but would decide only after assessing the ground situation around the election, party sources said.
A sweeping victory in Delhi – the AAP looked set to win 64 seats – will infuse a dose of enthusiasm in the fledgling party that has, since the Lok Sabha elections, not only consolidated its position in Delhi but also got time to create its structure elsewhere.
Punjab would be the AAP’s next destination where the SAD-BJP combine face a huge anti-incumbency following charges of corruption and a rage over drug menace, political observer said.
The state goes to polls in 2017 and the Congress, the main opposition to the SAD-BJP alliance, is in complete disarray with PCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa and former chief minister Captain Amrinder Singh, the Lok Sabha MP from Amritsar, fighting in public.
The AAP has already made Punjab a triangular contest by securing 24% votes in the Lok Sabha elections.
Before Punjab, Assam, Kerala, Pondichery, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal will go to polls next year.
The Congress is in power in Assam, Kerala and Pondichery; while the Trinamool Congress and the AIADMK rule West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
West Bengal’s ruling party is facing defections and a loss of faith over the massive Saradha deposit scandal. To make matters worse, the BJP is constantly trying to gain a toehold in chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s turf.
With the Left Front, which ruled the state uninterrupted for over three decades, in disarray, this will be one place where the AAP might want to forcefully knock on the doors.