AAP eyes its first electoral victory in Haryana

Supporters attend a rally by AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in Kurukshetra on May 29.

Supporters attend a rally by AAP supremo and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in Kurukshetra on May 29. | Photo Credit: PTI

Riding high on its new-found popularity in Haryana, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is aiming to register its first-ever electoral victory in the State in the municipal polls on Sunday.

The party, which is contesting 45 of the 46 civic bodies going to the polls, is in a direct contest with the ruling coalition of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jannayak Janta Party (JJP). The Congress has decided not to contest the elections. The results of the polls to 28 municipal committees and 18 municipal councils will be declared on June 22.

Following its sweeping victory in the Punjab Assembly polls, AAP is trying to gain a foothold in Haryana. Since 2014, the party has failed to register a win in the State in the two Lok Sabha elections and the 2019 Assembly polls.

AAP’s State leaders and its MLAs from Delhi have started campaigning in full swing for the municipal elections on the twin planks of a “corruption-free regime” and the “Kejriwal Model”.

“The Congress sowed the seeds of corruption, and the BJP-JJP government watered and fertilised it. Corruption is rampant in municipal bodies in the State. Tenders are floated and payments made, but no work is done on the ground. This election will lay the foundation for a change in the system,” said AAP Rajya Sabha MP and Haryana in-charge Sushil Gupta at a rally in Gharonda.

Mr. Gupta spoke about the problems facing farmers, the high unemployment rate and the poor law and order situation in the State. He also took a dig at the ruling coalition for seeking votes in the name of caste and religion. “Such States never progress,” he said.

‘Huge response’

Former Sirsa MP Ashok Tanwar, who quit the Trinamool Congress and joined AAP in April this year, said the party was presenting itself as an alternative to the BJP-JJP alliance and the Congress, which he said was hand in glove with the ruling parties.

Mr. Tanwar said the response to the party’s rallies and roadshows in the State was “huge” and it stood a fair chance of emerging victorious in areas bordering Punjab such as Jind, Kaithal and Fatehabad. He said the party was also putting up a good fight at Sohna, Narnaul, Meham and Palwal.

AAP’s South Haryana spokesperson Sarika Verma said “door-to-door campaigning” has always been the party’s forte and its candidates and workers are trying to reach out to each and every voter. “We are promising pothole-free roads, clean drinking water and better waste management. We are not promising the moon but only what we can deliver,” she said.

Sounding confident of a victory in Sohna, Ms. Verma said the party’s candidate was an MBA graduate and an IAS aspirant. “We have mostly placed our bets on well-educated candidates with a clean record,” she said.

Senior AAP leader Anurag Hooda said contesting the elections would also help the party increase its support base in the State and prepare for the Lok Sabha election and the Assembly polls in 2024.

‘Vote for change’

Rakesh Yadav, a fruit seller in Sohna, said the party had managed to catch the attention of the electorate with its door-to-door campaigns and 'nukkad nataks'. “We have voted for the Congress and the BJP for so long, but there has been no visible change on the ground. I will vote for change this time,” he said.

Sonu, 39, a labourer at Sohna’s grain market, said the prices of essential commodities had skyrocketed and he could not find enough work to make both ends meet. The lack of jobs and price rise are the most important poll issues, he said.

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2022 1:18:51 pm |