Chandigarh: After testing hot waters in Punjab and Goa Vidhan Sabha elections, the four-year-old political party-Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)–is likely to go in for expansion in other states after March 11. This was a tough test for AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal who, for the first time after making a clean sweep in Delhi election two years ago, had strategically targeted to contest over 157 seats in Punjab (117) and Goa (40) in one go.
Political pundits are of the opinion that Kejriwal took a bold step after winning Delhi elections with a thumping majority. Moreover, the AAP won four seats in Punjab, out of 13 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections which further motivated Kejriwal to spread party beyond Delhi. Winning four out of 13 seats was a tremendous job done by the party in Punjab, they say. Similarly, the party entered Goa and strengthened its roots at 40 seats against the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). AAP fielded Elvis Gomes, a former bureaucrat, a Chief Ministerial candidate besides promising ‘fish for all.’
The party, however, has not announced its chief ministerial candidate in Punjab even after the elections were over on Saturday. Fed up from the two party culture and the alleged highhandedness of the ruling SAD-BJP alliance and the Congress, not only the Punjab residents but the NRIs extended a massive support to AAP that promised to cub corruption, end VIP culture and eradicate drugs from the state, apart from promising job avenues to the youth.
Though the results of Punjab and Goa Vidhan Sabha elections are to come on March 11, and if the AAP scores well, the political experts say that the party will expand its bases to neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh (going of poll in the end of this year), Haryana in 2017, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. As compare to Himachal Pradesh, it is easy for the AAP to register its presence in Haryana, claim experts. They give reasons that a majority of IAS officers, from Haryana posted in Delhi and who are going to retire by 2017, are in touch with Kejriwal (also from Haryana), and could contest next Haryana Vidhan Sabha election from AAP.
A Delhi based senior political analyst even said that After Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, now Kejriwal started fielding strong candidates against their strong political rivals in the elections. This is evident from the fact that Kejriwal himself (AAP candidate) contest 2017 Lok Sabha election against Narendra Modi, a BJP candidate, from Varanasi.
In Punjab election, he fielded party’s MLA from Delhi, Major Singh against Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in Lambi and tried to zero in SAD president Sukhbir Badal in Jalalabad by pitching party MP Bnagwant Singh Mann, he said. The AAP insiders, however, revealed that the AAP will also sneak into Gujarat, a home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the next state Vidhan Sabha elections.
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