Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convener Arvind Kejriwal on Monday announced that the party will contest 2022 Gujarat assembly elections on all 182 seats. Delhi Chief Minister Kejriwal made the announcement during his one-day visit to the state.
This is Kejriwal’s second visit to Gujarat after his party won 27 out of 120 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) elections in 2021. The Kejriwal-led AAP party had fielded candidates across all the local bodies such as municipal corporations, municipalities, district’s and taluka panchayats.
“The AAP will contest each and every seat in the 2022 Gujarat Assembly elections. The AAP is a credible alternative to the BJP and Congress. Gujarat will change soon,” he said during presser.
“Gujarat is suffering because of this friendship and alliance between the BJP and the Congress. The BJP ruled this state for the last 27 years. I heard people saying that Congress is in the pocket of the BJP. Both the BJP and Congress are the same. This must stop,” he said. Kejriwal said the Congress and the BJP have been in power for most of the period after Independence but “people are witness to what they have done. Farmers are committing suicide even after 75 years”.
During the press conference, the former head of a Gujarati news channel, Isudan Gadhvi, joined the AAP in the presence of Kejriwal. Blaming the BJP and the Congress for the “current situation” of Gujarat, Kejriwal said the common people were left to fend for themselves during the coronavirus pandemic. Irrespective of tall claims, farmers in Gujarat are committing suicide, government-run schools and hospitals are in shambles and traders are living under fear, he alleged.
“People want to know why the electricity costs are so high in Gujarat when it’s free in Delhi? If government-run schools and hospitals are top-class in Delhi then why are they in a bad shape here? Now, the time has come to change Gujarat,” the AAP leader said. When asked if he was proposing to implement the “Delhi model” in Gujarat, Kejriwal said the model of development will be decided by the six crore people of Gujarat.
The AAP is looking to present itself as a formidable alternative to the Congress in Gujarat and challenge the BJP in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home turf. The party is trying to fill in the gap left by the Congress, which has seen setbacks in the recent past with several of its MLAs resigning, and its poor performance in the local body polls held in February this year.
Meanwhile, the Gujarat Congress may soon get a new president and an in-charge as both these posts are lying vacant following the resignation of incumbent Amit Chavda and the death of Rajiv Satav, respectively, ahead of the next year’s Assembly polls, sources and a party functionary said on Tuesday. The Congress wants to give priority to Gujarat because of the 2022 polls, they said.
Chavda and Gujarat Congress Legislative Party (CLP) chief Paresh Dhanani had resigned in March this year after the party lost against the BJP in the local body polls. Chavda and Dhanani were asked by the Central leadership of the Congress to continue till their replacements are found.
Gujarat Congress in-charge Rajiv Satav had started the process to select a new Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) president. However, he died of post-COVID 19 complications last month. “GPCC president Amit Chavda and CLP leader Paresh Dhanani had resigned from their posts in March after the party’s defeat in local body polls.
(with inputs from PTI)