New Delhi: The first Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Rashtriya Jan Pratinidhi Sammelan (national convention) appears to be a powerful show, with the guest list comprising around 1,500 representatives from 20 states and union territories, including party-ruled Punjab and Delhi.
The conference, presided over by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, took place on September 18 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Delhi. According to a press release issued by the party, 1,446 people attended the event.
A list of participants prepared by AAP, seen by ThePrint, includes the party’s 10 Rajya Sabha MPs and 156 MPs from Delhi (62), Punjab (92) and Goa (2), and a large number of MPs, village leaders. District members, nagar palika members, block committee members, zila panchayat members and district development committee members.
Apart from Delhi, Punjab and Goa, the party’s public representatives are from states and union territories ranging from Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Haryana to states South such as Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, according to the press release.
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Broadening the support base
“AAP has been expanding its support base across states for several years now. But Punjab’s victory has given a major boost to the ongoing exercise. A large number of public representatives from across the political spectrum have also joined AAP because of its progressive and model-oriented approach. welfare management structure which has been introduced in Delhi and now in Punjab,” said senior AAP leader and Delhi Transport Minister Kailash. Gahlot.
Apart from the assembly polls, the party has performed well in several states in the last year and a half.
In February last year, AAP won 27 wards in the Surat Gujarat municipal polls. Then, in April this year, the party won the Assam district of Guwahati.
In June, AAP won five of the 133 wards it contested in the Haryana municipal polls. Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, the party won 15 seats but captured the mayor’s post in one civic body in the municipal polls held in July.
A senior official of the party pointed out that the list of participants includes many names of leaders who were elected as public representatives on another party’s ticket or as independent candidates who later joined AAP.
Several such cases of cross-cutting parties have been observed in Jammu & Kashmir and Goa in the last two years.
The event was also attended by a large number of independent candidates who had won zila parishad, gram panchayat and other local elections but were supported by AAP, the senior leader said.
For example, in Uttar Pradesh, AAP said, 83 candidates supported by them won the zila panchayat elections in May 2021. Also, the party said it won 145 out of 300 gram panchayat seats in Maharashtra.
But Gram panchayat and zila panchayat elections in these two states are not conducted using party symbols, a senior Election Commission official told ThePrint.
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Baseless claim or smart strategy?
The political opposition, however, questioned the AAP’s claim.
“AAP’s Delhi model, Punjab model claims are all baseless. It is an undemocratic party run by one person. So, they have adopted this strategy of creating a lot of air before the elections. The claims of the support base are exaggerated. ,” BJP national spokesperson Guru Prakash Paswan told ThePrint.
Congress national spokesperson Shama Mohamed told ThePrint, “If AAP really has a large support base across the states, how come they failed to win the elections in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Goa? Let alone the winning seats, the vote share in these states should be questioned. These misleading figures for public representatives and claims of a large base of support will not help them win the elections.”
Praveen Rai, a political analyst at the Center for Social Development Studies, a Delhi-based think tank, told ThePrint that the party is “undoubtedly” expanding after the Punjab victory.
“Irrespective of what the political opponents say, I would look at the recent incident as a smart move to show power, at an important time when the party is investing heavily in Gujarat and Himachal. [Pradesh]which can bring confidence to the voters,” said Rai.
(Editing by Theres Sudeep)
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