Respond to Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest with your vote: AAP reorients poll campaign | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Respond to Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest with your vote: AAP reorients poll campaign

ByAlok KN Mishra
Apr 09, 2024 05:21 AM IST

The new campaign comes month after Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann flagged off the party’s initial “Sansad Me Bhi Kejriwal, Toh Delhi Hogi Aur Khushhal” drive.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday kicked off a fresh campaign ahead of the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi centred around the slogan “Jail Ka Jawab Vote Se” (responding to jail with a vote), a two-pronged drive that aims to drum up support against chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest and to cash in on voter sympathy that the party hopes his incarceration will generate.

AAP leaders at the party office on Monday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
AAP leaders at the party office on Monday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Read here: We need to work harder because our chief is in jail: AAP’s Sanjay Singh

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“We want you (the voters) to empower Kejriwal,” said senior AAP leader Sandeep Pathak, who launched the campaign along with his party colleagues Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai and Pankaj Gupta at the AAP headquarters on Monday afternoon.

The new campaign comes exactly a month after Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann flagged off the party’s initial “Sansad Me Bhi Kejriwal, Toh Delhi Hogi Aur Khushhal” drive.

AAP leaders said they will take the fresh campaign to the people and inform them that Kejriwal has been arrested in a fabricated case under a “conspiracy” to crush the AAP.

The Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) arrest of Kejriwal on March 21 over alleged irregularities in the 2021-22 Delhi excise policy, however, forced the party to recalibrate its campaign and instead centre its pre-election drive on the chief minister’s imprisonment.

“It is the party’s key slogan and the entire campaign will revolve around it,” Pathak said at the press conference in Delhi.

Kejriwal is in Tihar jail in judicial custody till April 15.

All seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, which are held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will vote in the general elections on May 25. The AAP, as part of its seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress, is contesting four of these seats – New Delhi, South Delhi, West Delhi and East Delhi. The Congress is contesting the rest, but is still to name any candidates.

The AAP used the campaign launch as a moment to revisit the party’s flagship welfare programmes.

“I request people to remember Kejriwal’s face when they go to vote in the Lok Sabha polls, remember the face of their children who study in good schools, remember the zero electricity bill, remember the face of women taking free bus rides, senior citizens who have availed free pilgrimage. It was all done by Arvind Kejriwal. A dictator has put him (Kejriwal) in jail. You have to respond to it through your votes,” he said.

Singh was arrested in connection with the excise policy case last October and released on bail on April 3.

Rai, Delhi’s environment minister and the AAP’s Delhi convener, said the party “will connect with every Delhi resident and ensure the BJP loses all seven seats”.

“The BJP is threatening Delhi with President’s Rule if Kejriwal does not resign,” he said.

“Delhi gave birth to honest politics, but a conspiracy has been hatched to crush honest politics. Now it is Delhi’s responsibility to protect it,” said Pathak.

Read here: Respond to Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest with your vote, AAP tells Delhi in new pitch

Tanvir Aeijaz, associate professor of political science at Ramjas College, said the AAP had earlier pitched its election campaign on ‘Sansad Me Bhi Kejriwal, Toh Delhi Hogi Aur Khushhal’ but now they have changed it to focus on mobilising supporters over the arrest. “This may help the AAP in gaining sympathy for its leaders in the ensuing elections,” said Aeijaz.

Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva, meanwhile, said that the AAP’s Lok Sabha campaign is an admission by party leaders that Kejriwal will not get bail any time soon. “AAP leaders are mistaken if they think that by showing pictures of Kejriwal behind the bars they can generate sympathy vote, people of Delhi are laughing at the campaign poster launched by the AAP. People of Delhi are saying that ‘Jail ka Jawab Vote Se’ makes no sense, people will vote against the corruption of Arvind Kejriwal and vote them out,” said Sachdeva.

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