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AAP to name 21 candidates for Gujarat polls, holds roadshow to test waters

The Aam Aadmi Party, which had decided not to contest the Gujarat election after setbacks in Goa and Punjab, has decided to take on the ruling BJP with the slogan Bhajpa hatao, parivartan lao.

india Updated: Oct 02, 2017 22:15 IST
Jatin Gandhi and Hiral Dave
Jatin Gandhi and Hiral Dave
Hndustan Times, New Delhi
AAP,Gujarat election,Narendra Modi
Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party plans to take on the ruling BJP in Gujarat over the issue of corruption. It opens its campaign with a roadshow to Gandhi’ ashram in Ahmedabad.(Sonu Mehta/ HT file photo )

The Aam Admi Party began its Gujarat assembly elections campaign with a roadshow through Ahmedabad on Monday and the party will declare 21 candidates this week.

Polls in the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah are expected in December.

“The AAP campaign began with a roadshow. Entourage is 5km long,” said party spokesman Harshil Naik.

Delhi cabinet minister Gopal Rai led the event marking Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary in which nearly 1,000 cars, 700 bikes, 200 auto- rickshaws and 10 bespoke campaign vehicles participated.

“More than 5,000 workers joined the rally with the mission ‘BJP hatao, parivartan lao (remove BJP, bring in change)’. The show began from Naroda, which was severely affected in the 2002 riots, and ended near Sabarmati Ashram,” Rai said.

The party led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal is attempting to expand its footprint in BJP-stronghold Gujarat after dismal results in the February-March elections in Goa and Punjab.

The AAP did not win a single seat in Goa and finished a distant second in Punjab, where it hoped to form the government. After the poor show in Goa and the Delhi municipal polls in May, the party shelved plans for a grand campaign in the western state.

The party leadership even thought of skipping the Gujarat polls, triggering resistance from the state unit.

“Volunteers felt they were working for four years to build the party in Gujarat and it must fight the elections,” a party leader said.

The AAP is now limbering up for a fight in the state, where the BJP faces multi-term anti-incumbency and the Congress has been out of power since 1995.

“The BJP’s ego has gone even bigger than Mount Everest,” Rai said.

The AAP will declare its first list of 21 candidates after the roadshow.

But Kishore Desai, the party’s election committee chief in the state, refused to reveal how many candidates will be fielded for the 182-member assembly.

Sources in New Delhi said the decision will be based on the public response to the campaign.

Before the elections in Goa and Punjab, the AAP announced it would contest all seats.

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 12:02 IST