Seen as a non-entity by rival parties, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) claims itself to be a serious player in Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections and hopes to get those crucial number of seats to play the “king maker” in the new government after the results on 3 December.
Sumit Chauhan, in charge of the AAP’s state unit office in Arera Colony in Bhopal, said, “The party is fighting with full force on 70 seats. We have deliberately reduced our focus to 70 constituencies rather than contesting on all the 230 seats like 2018.” Chauhan, who has been attached with the AAP and party convenor Arvind Kejriwal since the 2011 anti-corruption campaign that was launched by Anna Hazare in Delhi, said the youth in the state look at the new party as an alternative to the Congress that has ruled for 47 years in the past and the BJP which has ruled for nearly 21 years.
He said the AAP has already made inroads into state politics through civic elections where it bagged one post of mayor and 50 councillors. “Our councillors and cadres are working very hard in the field to win 70 Assembly seats,” he said. “Today, the youth can make out that corruption is at the root of under development in our state. They want a change and Kejriwal appears to be a convincing voice for them,” he said. Asked if the AAP was seen more as an outsider or a Delhi-based outfit, Chauhan said, “The war room and the social media team of the AAP in Bhopal have been set up with the help of party workers from Delhi. But the other cadre on the ground are all from MP.”
The AAP leader said the 10-guarantees offered by Kejriwal appeal to all citizens and we will ensure that corruption is eradicated, free education and health facilities along with free electricity is available. “People are coming out in large numbers during our rallies. There is positive mood in favour of our candidate Rani Agrawal,” Chauhan said.
Despite the confidence exuded by the AAP leader, rival parties like the BJP dismiss the new outfit as an insignificant player in the electoral battle. Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Milan Bhargava said the AAP stands no chance of getting even one seat. “How can a party pose a challenge when its own state team has changed twice in five year?” he asked. “The AAP has no foot soldiers to campaign for it. How can it reach out to the voters?” he asked. “They may claim whatever they want, but the youth of the state is with the BJP. Our government’s Seekho Kamao scheme has got registrations from 80,000 students looking forward to getting internships in big firms. Around 17,000 firms have registered for being associated with the scheme,” he said.