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Sisodia hints at AAP joining anti-BJP coalition, party to focus on ‘pockets’ in LS polls

Apart from Punjab, where it won 20 assembly seats to become the main opposition party in 2017, Aam Aadmi Party has not made significant inroads in other areas outside of Delhi despite contesting elections there.

india Updated: Jul 23, 2018 20:42 IST
Hindustan Times, Panaji
Aam Aadmi Party,2019 polls
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia addresses a press conference at Delhi Secretariat, in New Delhi on July 18.(PTI Photo)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will not repeat its 2014 strategy of fielding candidates in almost every Lok Sabha constituency but will focus on pockets where it is popular, deputy chief minister of Delhi and senior AAP leader Manish Sisodia said here on Monday.

Sisodia, who was in Goa to interact with teachers and educationists, said that coalition politics was what the country needed now.

“We are a very small party, a very new political party. In 2014 elections we did an experiment where many of our workers wanted to contest just to establish themselves... This year we are not working on that same strategy. We are focussing on Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and, of course, Goa and may be a few more seats around Delhi and around some areas so we will be focussing on pockets,” Sisodia said when asked if the party would field candidates in all Lok Sabha seats.

Asked if the party was open to aligning with other non-BJP parties, he said that talk of coalition is just that -- talk.

“As of today, people are talking it and all but... there is no coalition coming up. They are talking about it, so let’s see. I think, at times the country should be important. What does the country want. Does India want to afford the regime of mob lynching and cow lynching again? In the name of policies, can India afford badly implemented ideas like demonetisation?” he asked.

He blamed the Narendra Modi-led NDA government’s implementation of demonetization and the new goods and services tax (GST) for the ills facing the economy.

“There was a meeting in Kashmir, I had raised this issue in the GST council (saying) ‘Don’t go for tax in sanitary napkins’. They didn’t listen to me. Now they realised. That means ‘You have done wrong. You are not able to visualise things.’ It’s (reduction in GST on sanitary napkins) not about gifting something to people. (It’s recognizing) you have done your mistakes,” he added.

“Since the beginning I have been telling them don’t put this 28% slab… You lower the tax rate the more the compliance, you can force them (traders) to comply. They did not listen. Now they are realising that they have made a mistake. You actually punished the people in the name of GST for one year, now you are coming back to 18% (and) to 12%,” he added.

Apart from its grand entry into Punjab, where it won 20 assembly seats to become the main opposition party in 2017, the AAP has not made significant inroads in other areas outside of Delhi despite contesting elections there.

First Published: Jul 23, 2018 20:42 IST