AAP turns focus on UP, says will contest panchayat polls this year


Buoyed by its decisive victory in Delhi, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has decided to turn its focus on Uttar Pradesh, outlining on Sunday its plans to recruit 25 lakh members in the politically crucial state and contest the panchayat polls later this year.

AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh said party workers will visit 1.07 lakh villages in Uttar Pradesh during the next three months and gather public opining and information on issues that affect people.

"The entire feedback will be submitted to Kejriwal after three months," Singh told reporters.

The Rajya Sabha member said AAP plans to make 25 lakh members in the state and in the next one month, 5,000 posters of the party will be put up in every assembly constituency. The membership drive will be held from February 24 to March 22 in over 12,000 wards in various cities across the state.

"AAP will contest the panchayat elections (likely in October-November) in UP," he announced.

The renewed focus to diversify AAP outside the national capital comes nearly two weeks after the party, founded in 2012, registered the second decisive win in Delhi polls for a third consecutive term. After its win in Delhi five years ago, the AAP had made moves to expand but did not find much base.

For UP, the AAP spokesperson said, five ministers with origins in the state have been made ministers in Delhi government. "They will play a key role in various campaigns by the party," he added.

Hitting out at the UP government of the BJP, which was AAP's main rival in Delhi, Singh claimed law and order had ceased to exist in UP and the youth is disappointed with the Yogi Adityanath government.

Adityanath had campaigned for the BJP ahead of the Delhi Assembly election.

"The BJP is a party with a bad mentality (ghatiya maansikta) and is known for its bad remarks. The people have defeated BJP's politics of hatred, and have given a thumbs up to Kejriwal's politics of love," Singh said, adding the BJP is raising "all the unreal issues" while hiding the issues of inflation.

"People are tired of politics of religion," he said and stressed that AAP will focus on farmers' problems.

He also criticised the Uttar Pradesh chief minister. "The statements made by Adityanath and action on the anti-CAA protestors are a sign of an unsuccessful chief minister."

Singh alleged that "gundaraj" (hooliganism) and "arajakta" (anarchy) were at its peak in Uttar Pradesh and attempts were being made under the present dispensation to "harm" democracy.

"All sections of society are fed up with this government. But the CM is busy patting his back and talking falsely about development," he charged, adding only the AAP can provide a clean governance.

The party, which is eying the 2022 UP Assembly polls, said it will seek votes in the name of Delhi government's "development model", which, Singh asserted, was better than BJP's "Gujarat model".

"We have started making ground in the politically sensitive Uttar Pradesh. We are sure the 2022 election will be contested on the development agenda and we will seek vote in the name of Delhi's development model," Singh told PTI.

"The Delhi Assembly election has proved people are discarding politics of hatred and preferring politics of development. In Delhi, 15 MLAs belong to UP and they will be given responsibility in the state to strengthen the party's base," he added.

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