Ten years after it was formed, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is all set to get the status of a national party after securing nearly 13% of the vote share and five seats in the Gujarat Assembly election.
Thanking the people of Gujarat for helping the party achieve the status, party convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “We have managed to breach the fortress this time, next time we will conquer it.”
Becoming a national party before the 2024 Lok Sabha election bode well with the ambitions of the party, which has been testing the waters in many States and municipal bodies, of emerging as the principal challenger to the BJP across the country.
Before the Assembly election this year, the AAP first tested its electoral fortunes in Gujarat in the Surat municipal polls where it replaced the Congress to become the second-biggest party securing a 28% vote share.
The party plans to contest in most of the States going to the polls next year. They include the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. The party plans to contest election in Jammu and Kashmir, likely to be held early next year.
According to Election Commission (EC) rules, a party gets national status if it is recognised as a State party in four States. For recognition as a State party, it has to secure at least 6% of the valid votes polled and two seats in the Assembly or Lok Sabha elections.
Gujarat is the fourth State where the AAP will be recognised as a State party. While the party has governments in Delhi and Punjab, in Goa, it had won two Assembly seats and secured 6.67% of the votes.
After the Assembly election in Goa in February, the EC giving the AAP recognition as a State party in Goa. After being recognised as a national party, the AAP can claim the Jhaadu (broom) as a reserved symbol for itself across the country.
As of now there are seven national parties in the country — BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, CPI, CPI(M) and the National Peoples Party, Meghalaya.
“There are very few parties in the country which have the status of a national party... People are surprised when they hear this (that we are a national party so soon). We ran a very positive campaign. We only spoke about our work. This is what makes us different from other parties. We are decent, honest and patriotic people”, Mr Kejriwal said.
AAP senior leader Gopal Rai said, “The people of Gujarat have provided us with this gift of giving us the recognition of a national party. The people of Gujarat have cleared the street for us to use our Jhaadu and clean the State governments in every part of this country.”
Party national secretary Pankaj Gupta said that by making the AAP a national party, the people of Gujarat have given a message that the governance model of education, health, electricity, and water given by Arvind Kejriwal has to be spread across the country.