The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is quietly gaining strength in Assam.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led party’s state unit has been drumming up since April. Its activities are not “seen” or “heard”, unlike AAP’s high-energy campaign in poll-bound Gujarat, essentially on the other side of the Indian map.
But the party claims to be making the right noise at the right time, often stealing the pace from opposition parties in Assam when it comes to criticizing the decisions and policies of the BJP-led government.
Criticism is mostly constructive, said AAP State Coordinator Bhaben Choudhury.
Soon after, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president JP Nadda inaugurated the party’s six-storey office in Guwahati, a property worth more than Rs 25 crore.
AAP chose to be different.
“We have nothing to say about the BJP or any party in power for a long time sacrificing itself. But we dare the BJP to build equal but affordable schools, hospitals and other public facilities in the state and all,” said Mr. Choudhury told him. The Hindu.
The party’s voice, say AAP leaders, is getting stronger because of the growing public support. From less than a year ago, the party now has more than 1.5 lakh members in Assam.
“The belief that AAP can fill a political vacuum has suddenly made the civic polls earlier this year baseless,” said Mr. Choudhury.
AAP contested 38 of the 60 seats in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections in April. She won one of the two seats that the BJP failed to win but finished second in 22 others.
The party also won every division in the Tinsukia and Lakhimpur municipal elections a month ago.
“We are on a panchayat-level membership drive. We will get a fair idea of how the party is shaping up in rural areas when the exercise ends in November,” said Mr. Choudhury.
Apart from Guwahati, AAP has entered most of the districts on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river, primarily Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Biswanath and Sonitpur districts. It has also entered the Bodoland Local Council areas, which have not been known as a happy hunting ground for non-local parties for the past two decades.