With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) inching towards a landslide victory again in Delhi assembly elections, there is already speculation gaining ground that the party would look to cast its net beyond the capital.
Party president Arvind Kejriwal has previously tried his luck in Haryana, Punjab and Goa, and the next on the horizon could be Bihar, where elections are just eight months away.
And he already has an admirer in the state in former JD(U) leader Pavan Varma, who was recently expelled from the party. Although Varma insisted there had been no talks with AAP, he said he would decide on the role to play in Bihar politics in the time to come.
Varma also expressed respect for the AAP’s good governance policies and appreciated their efforts for working on a secular mandate.
"I have immense respect for AAP's good governance policies and its work for a secular mandate. I am impressed by the work they have done. As far as Bihar elections are concerned, politics is a step-by-step process. There have been no talks at all as of now. I will only decide on my position in Bihar politics in the days to come,” he said.
The statement comes at a time when Bihar assembly election is roughly eight months away.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar inducted Pavan Varma, a former ambassador to Bhutan, into the JD(U) and made him his culture advisor. In June 2014, Nitish also gave him a two-year stint in the Rajya Sabha. Varma was later made the party's general secretary and national spokesperson.
It was Pavan Varma who introduced poll strategist Prashant Kishor to Nitish Kumar. Kishor worked on the AAP’s campaign in Delhi and is also now looking for a new political home after being ousted from JD(U).
Varma had drifted from the JD(U) over its support to the amended citizenship law and the National Population Register exercise, as he has often claimed that these measures along with the National Register of Citizens, which is on the BJP's agenda, are divisive for the country.
In a recent letter that he had posted on social media, Varma had sought ideological clarity from Kumar after the party entered into an alliance with the BJP in the Delhi Assembly polls.
“I still have personal affection for Nitish Kumar and am grateful to him for all that he has done for me. However, there were ideological differences and he does not want any impediments in him becoming the CM again. I do not at all regret the fact I was expelled," added Varma.
According to early trends, AAP is currently leading in 48 seats while BJP is ahead in 22 seats. The Congress is yet to open its electoral account.