AAP’s national ambition: Focus on local bodies, state assemblies

By Nivedita Singh
New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) After his Aam Aadmi Party created history with a landslide victory in Delhi, capturing the capital for the third consecutive time, Arvind Kejriwal now shifts his focus to the national level. He plans to expand AAP’s presence across the country by increasing his cadre strength with focus on local bodies, besides the state assemblies.

Speaking to IANS, AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai said the party will be working on three levels. While it will continue to pursue its agenda to fulfil all 10 guarantees given to Delhi, it will also focus on the polls of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, slated for 2022.

“We will be working on the 10 guarantees, which includes controlling pollution, doorstep delivery, higher education and others. While the government will focus on the promises, the AAP will also work on the promise of making Delhi garbage-free. For this, we will be gearing up for the MCD polls.”

Rai said the city cannot be made garbage-free without the MCD.

“We need to be in power in the MCD to work on pollution, congestion and trash. So, MCD is our prime focus.”

The AAP is also expanding its reach at the national level as it has already started making its volunteer base across the country.

“We issued a missed call number — 9871010101. People can join the campaign. We already received so many missed calls. This was our first step. Second, will be a meeting of all the national office bearers of the Aam Aadmi Party after the swearing-in is done.”

The meeting, to be held on the evening of February 16, after Kejriwal and Cabinet takes oath in the morning, will decide the future course of action for the party.

“After that meeting, the campaign to increase the volunteer base will be launched in all the states. The aim will be to make a cadre of AAP across the country.”

Rai said after the cadres join, their training will begin.

“We will fight local body elections in other states also. We will be focusing on few states as well. The decision on the same will be taken on February 16. In future, we will also focus on the Lok Sabha elections.”

Kejriwal could become a face of the opposition in the next Lok Sabha. Rai said the Aam Aadmi Party national convenor is the face of the positive nationalism and people across the country relate to this kind of nationalism.

While Bihar Assembly polls are slated later this year, West Bengal will hold elections next year. Rai said the meeting will decide the party’s role in these states.

“Kejriwal is not a face of the opposition. He is the face of the politics of work. He also attracts the BJP supporters. Delhi polls were a fight between negative nationalism and positive nationalism. The BJP is standing with negative nationalism and AAP is with the positive nationalism.”

Explaining the difference, he said the nationalism of AAP does not have hate for anyone but speak about work.

“Our nationalism talks about education, health care, women’s safety, minimum wages to workers and development. This is positive nationalism. The nationalism of BJP is negative talking about hate. Not opposition but Kejriwal and his positive nationalism is an alternative for the people.”

The AAP will need the cooperation from the saffron party to work in Delhi. Rai refused they will be targeting the BJP.

“We are not targeting or attacking them. We want that all parties should work and talk about work. We never opposed them even in the Delhi election campaign. We only asked them to list their work, like we did. They were not ready to speak on any work as they have not done anything. While they wanted us to switch to their mode of campaign, we remained focused on our work politics.”

On not attacking Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Assembly election, while he was the main target in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Rai said there was no point of attacking Modi.

“In the Lok Sabha we attacked Modi as he was the face. In Assembly, he was not the target. We wanted the Chief Minister face of the BJP to answer our questions. The BJP, however, did not name the Chief Minister. When Amit Shah took the charge of the elections, we targeted him. There was no point attacking the Prime Minister. “

Rai said there will be changes in the organization also — as and when required.

On the role of political strategist Prashant Kishor in the AAP, Rai said the talks were only for the Assembly elections.

“Prashant Kishore has experience of several assembly elections. That was a help and the talks between us was only till the elections. We are yet to have any talk for future,” Rai told IANS.

AAP and Kishor’s Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC) had joined hands for the Assembly polls on Delhi, in which AAP bagged 62 of the 70 seats.

(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at nivedita.singh@ians.in)

–IANS
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