Aam Aadmi Party chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday, announced that his party will contest in all the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. The elections are scheduled to be held in the second half of 2022.
The announcement, made during his day-long visit to Ahmedabad, did not come as a surprise as his party had won 27 seats in Surat municipal corporation elections held earlier this year.
However, for the Gujarat Congress, which is already on the back foot despite the decent performance in the 2017 assembly elections, the move by the AAP is going to create further trouble. Defections at regular intervals continued in the Congress despite the assembly election performance.
The AAP’s performance is a point in case in Surat. While the party managed to win 27 seats, the Congress scored a zero.
Kejriwal had visited Surat soon after the party’s success, and his visit to Ahmedabad suggests that the AAP has decided to be part of Gujarat politics in a major way.
The Delhi chief minister minced no words in criticising both the BJP and the Congress. He alleged that in the last 27 years—the period in which the BJP has been in power in Gujarat—has been a period of a tale of “friendship” between the two parties. He went on to add that it is said Congress is in BJP’s pockets and whenever the BJP wants, the party gives its “maal” to the saffron party, indirectly referring to MLAs who have joined the BJP.
Describing Gujarat’s situation as “bad,” Kejriwal said people of Gujarat would choose their own model of development. Each state will have a different model, Kejriwal said, when questioned if Gujarat model would be similar to Delhi model.
A stunned Gujarat Congress reacted. Its former president Arjun Modhwadia alleged that AAP is the B team of the ruling BJP and it has come to divide anti-BJP votes. He claimed that the AAP won’t succeed in electoral battle, and cited the examples of failed attempts by a couple of senior politicians of Gujarat.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said the BJP lures MLAs with force and money. He also questioned if Kejriwal supported such moves of the BJP.
The BJP, on its part, reacted saying AAP and Kejriwal have failed to handle COVID-19 in a city like New Delhi and sought to know how he can make promises for a larger state like Gujarat.