AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia on poll results, Satyendra Jain videos & future | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia on poll results, Satyendra Jain videos & future

Dec 11, 2022 12:31 PM IST

While Gujarat assembly's post-poll analysis is on, AAP Gujarat chief Gopal Italia talks about the Gujarat election performance, areas where the party lagged and the future prospects.

“How can we be considered lost? How can a party having zero seats in the last assembly elections - which now has five MLAs, has garnered 40 lakh votes and stood second on 40 seats - can be termed to have been defeated? For a young party and a first-timer like us, it is, in fact, an achievement,” says Gopal Italia, Gujarat president, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Before the elections, he had said that the party will get more than 100 seats in the 182-member assembly.

AAP Gujarat state convenor Gopal Italia.
AAP Gujarat state convenor Gopal Italia.

While a post-poll analysis is on, Gopal Italia talks about the Gujarat election performance, areas where the party lagged and the future prospects.

Arvind Kejriwal's party had been running a hectic assembly election campaign in Gujarat since March. And now, although the party calls the result "an achievement", the seat tally is far from what was expected. On the big claims, Italia says that "while going in election campaigns, one should not go with the temperament of winning just 10-15 seats but should demonstrate confidence". “When you go to fight in a war, you shouldn't think of defeat. The ultimate goal should be to win.”

Swarm of people in rallies vs AAP candidates' dismal show

As the elections approached, the party's national convener, Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann made frequent visits to the state. They attracted tremendous support in their rallies and road shows.

When asked why it has not been converted into votes for them, Italia says, "it’s not like we have not got votes but it didn’t convert into seats". “I myself got over 50,000 votes.” He agrees that the party could not perform in its stronghold like Surat, where it has scored fairly well in the civic body elections.

ALSO READ: Surat: AAP hopes to put up good show after civic poll performance, fields Italia

BJP an invincible opponent?

“If a party is in power, it will use all its money, power, and government machinery against opponents. We all know how the election was fought. Our candidates were kidnapped at the gunpoint. What kind of nationalism is this, what kind of ideology?” asks Italia, making sharp allegations.

ALSO READ: AAP’s Surat candidate backs out amid ‘abduction’ furore; No role, says BJP

He reiterated that even in such scenarios and in the bastion of BJP, the AAP performance "is not less than an accomplishment".

Video leak of Satyendra Jain dented the party efforts?

Several videos of jailed Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain from the Tihar were made public only a few days before the voting in Gujarat and for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

Gopal Italia, however, dismissed the claims that the videos harmed the party prospects. “People in Gujarat don’t know him.” But, Gopal says, to use government agencies and leak such videos is a frivolous act and a mischievous attempt to divert attention from real issues.

Challenges hereafter for the party in the state?

The AAP has got five MLAs in this election. However, opinions have been floated around that in the coming days, the MLAs may desert the party. They say candidates have won because of their stature, they would have anyway got elected irrespective of the party.

Italia strongly rejects such claims, stressing, "No candidate is powerful enough to win alone. The party machinery, workers and funds help are required. If they were so powerful, why were they not elected earlier? Were elections not happening then?”

On plans and his entry in national politics

On the eve of Gujarat and Himachal election results, Kejriwal tweeted to congratulate the party workers on becoming a national party. With governments in two states, the party is looking for rapid expansion.

ALSO READ: Nine years after AAP's first Delhi win, Kejriwal hails 'national party'

However, Italia says that he will work in the state strengthening the party for forthcoming civic polls. On being asked if he aspires to widen his role to play a major part in national politics, he says: “It's the voter who decides the place of the candidate.”

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