Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday pitched the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as the key political alternative in Gujarat, with his party winning 27 seats in municipal polls in the western state, which is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj described it as “breaching the citadel of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP” even though the BJP retained power in all six municipal corporations winning 409 of the 474 seats where results were declared till evening.
“People of Gujarat have voted for politics of work as they were fed up by the politics of BJP and Congress. The people of Gujarat wanted an alternative and AAP has emerged as the key alternative to the present parties. Now the upcoming assembly election will be only between Aam Aadmi Party and BJP,” said Kejriwal, who is also the national convener of the AAP, in a press statement issued on Tuesday.
Gujarat goes to assembly polls in 2022 and the AAP has announced that they will be contesting the polls. It is the home state of Modi where he has served as the chief minister between 2001 and 2014.
Delhi’s deputy chief minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia said, “People in all the cities of Gujarat are expressing trust in the AAP. The Aam Aadmi Party is at number two in Surat which has been a BJP stronghold. People are now seeking change and they are looking at the Aam Aadmi Party as the key alternative.”
All 27 seats won by the AAP are in Surat municipal corporation, where it emerged as the principal opposition party against the BJP. It was the AAP’s debut in municipal polls in Gujarat even though they had unsuccessfully contested in 30 seats in the 2017 assembly polls in the state.
Bhardwaj further said, “For the first time, the Aam Aadmi Party is getting significant support and winning several seats in the grassroots level elections across India. The grassroots level elections mean that municipality elections and gram Panchayat elections… Earlier, the same trend was noticed in the states like Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and other states.”
In the next two years, the party will be contesting assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat.
“In Punjab municipal polls (earlier this month), the AAP’s performance was poor. That put a question mark in their expansion plan. Seen in that light, the Gujarat performance would be quite a saving grace. Evidently, they have gained from the decline of Congress. But it gives them hope for the assembly elections in 2022 for emerging as a prominent opposition party in Gujarat,” said Praveen Rai, political analyst with the centre for study of developing societies.
Kishansinh Solanki of the BJP- the places that aap has won are traditional seats of the congress. So the bjp has taken that share. They have surat and bhavnagar and not in other places as in that area some
Paridar leaders who were with congress have now fallen out. So aap benefitted in that limited way