A little after four pm, AAP National convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reacted to the results of the local body elections in Gujarat. "Congratulations to the people of Gujarat for the beginning of new politics," he wrote in a tweet.
Soon after, the party announced that the AAP supremo would visit Gujarat on Friday (February 26) and hold a roadshow. The AAP had been eyeing Gujarat for a long time, however, this is the first time that the party contested municipal elections in the state.
The party, which had fielded 470 candidates across six corporations, won 27 seats in Surat.
While the battle was fought by its local unit, the party did send Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to add weight to its campaign. Sisodia hit the ground running with a roadshow in Surat. He was joined by AAP Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Singh, chief spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj and of course, AAP Gujurat in charge and two-time MLA from Matiala Gulab Singh, among others. The party held press conferences in both Delhi and Gujarat to welcome the results that have taken some leaders, including those in the party, by surprise.
In Delhi, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj described the results as 'astonishing' and a 'rejection' of the Congress as an alternative to the BJP.
Apart from Surat, AAP also did well in other major cities of Gujarat. In Rajkot, it was number two with 13 seats; in Ahemadabad, it was number two with 16 seats, he said, adding that in other cities also people have given their love and blessings to the party.
"The results of Gujarat will be analysed for political significance. In our view, people are trying to change the Vikas model of the BJP and Modiji. And instead of the Congress party, they are giving a chance to the Aam Aadmi Party", Bhardwaj said.
Using the results from Gujarat to hammer his point that the Congress is no longer the alternative to the BJP, Bhardwaj stated, "It was being said that Gujarat is a two-party state, I feel today for the first time this has been proved. BJP and AAP. There is no third party called Congress".
Highlighting the failure of the Congress to form and retain governments even after winning elections, the AAP spokesperson claimed that people who felt let down by the BJP and voted for the Congress felt betrayed.
"The second important reading is that wherever people are unhappy with the BJP, wherever in the country people felt that under the BJP rule their hopes are not being fulfilled, promises have not been kept and people voted to defeat the BJP, as the primary opposition party, a natural beneficiary of the anti-incumbency vote, the Congress did get votes and did win seats. However, even after Congress MLAs won, it was the BJP that formed the government. It is this that has pained people and they have seen it as a betrayal. And this did not happen in one place. It happened in Goa, Karnataka, MP and Puducherry more recently", he said, adding that the 'real alternative to the BJP is AAP'.
The AAP spokesperson also slammed the Congress for being the 'oxygen for the BJP'.
"Rahul Gandhi is that opponent in the political wrestling ring who Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen as his opponent to emerge as the country's uncontested leader."
"Congress is the punching bag that Modiji uses to emerge as boxer number one. In this Rahul Gandhi Vs Narendra Modi battle, Modiji is shown at the top and Rahul Gandhi is shown at the bottom and that is how Modiji is being built as the uncontested leader of India," he underscored.
In 2024, the country will choose a better alternative and it will not be Rahul Gandhi, Bhardwaj said. However, when asked whether Arvind Kejriwal is that alternative, he said that it is for the people of the county to decide.