AAP to celebrate Punjab victory in Chhattisgarh as it seeks to expand base
In 2018, AAP contested 85 out of 90 assembly seats in Chhattisgarh but could not even manage to win a single seat
RAIPUR: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will take out a march in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Monday to celebrate its victory in Punjab, where it wrested power from the Congress earlier this month. The party’s state office will also be inaugurated in Raipur as Delhi minister and AAP leader Gopal Rai has held meetings to discuss strategies for the 2023 Chhattisgarh elections.
In 2018, AAP contested 85 out of 90 assembly seats in Chhattisgarh, but could not even manage to win a seat. Congress swept to power by winning 68 seats. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won just 15 seats while Ajit Jogi’s Janata Party Chhattisgarh and Bahujan Samaj Party alliance got seven.
AAP leaders believe they can give a tough fight to BJP and Congress in the 2023 polls. State AAP chief Komal Hupendi said they are now focusing on a membership drive. “AAP is aiming to develop booth-level cadres and we are sure that before elections, the party will be in a commanding position to challenge both Congress and BJP.”
Hupendi said BJP and Congress have been unable to address the state’s problems. “The BJP ruled for 15 years but did nothing substantial. Congress has fooled people...its works are only on posters and hoardings... People have understood this and now are hoping for a better substitute like us.”
Hupendi claimed leaders from both BJP and Congress were in touch with them. “I cannot tell you the names but some of the important leaders of Congress and BJP are in touch with us...”
A Congress leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said after Jogi’s passing, there is political space in Chhattisgarh and AAP is trying to fill it. “After their win in Punjab, they [AAP] are trying to focus on Chhattisgarh...leaders from Congress and BJP are looking at AAP as an option.”
Congress leader RP Singh called AAP BJP’s “B team” and added there is no space for a third party in Chhattisgarh. “People of the state know Congress and the party’s devotion towards farmers and tribals. No other party has a political future in the state. AAP is coming here to help BJP.”
BJP leader Sachchidanand Upasane said AAP got no seats in 2018 and the result will be the same in 2023. “There is no space for a third party in the state… We are winning the elections because people of the state are fed up with Congress…It is just that the AAP is overexcited after Punjab’s win,” Upasane said.
Political commentator Sudeip Shrivasatva said AAP is good at making strategies for elections. “It positions itself as an alternative to traditional parties. Here in Chhattisgarh, AAP may be influential in urban areas and eat into BJP’s votes but will hurt the ruling party overall.”
Parivesh Mishra, another political commentator, said there has been a possibility of the emergence of a third player in the state. “...late Vidya Charan Shukla and Ajit Jogi made attempts but failed.” He referred to claims about possible defections to AAP and said politicians have switched parties.