Why AAP's local poll success can create Arvind Kejriwal's grand entry in Haryana

Aam Aadmi Party Rajya Sabha MP and state in-charge of Haryana, Sushil Kumar Gupta sees prospects for the party after the Haryana local poll results

Sayantan Ghosh November 29, 2022 19:04:09 IST
Why AAP's local poll success can create Arvind Kejriwal's grand entry in Haryana

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta during Haryana campaign

The Aam Aadmi Party, led by Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, has made an impressive debut in the Haryana Panchayat elections, despite the ongoing high-stakes Gujarat Assembly Election and Delhi municipal corporation election campaigns. The PTI reported that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party won approximately 22 of 102 Zila Parishad seats. Significantly, the PTI also reported that the Aam Aadmi Party won 15 Zila Parishad seats in districts such as Sirsa, Ambala, and Yamuna Nagar.

The senior leadership of the Aam Aadmi Party believes this is an excellent opportunity for the party following the Gujarat and Delhi MCD elections. Following this development, sources indicate that Arvind Kejriwal has also expressed interest in expanding the AAP’s presence in Haryana. According to the leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party, there are many positive factors working in the party’s favour in Haryana.

Aam Aadmi Party, Rajya Sabha, MP and Haryana, in-charge Sushil Gupta said, “The results of the local elections are positive for the Aam Aadmi Party, but they also send a message to the change that the people of Haryana are seeking. Arvind Kejriwal is closely following the development in Haryana and promises that his party will put up a valiant fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2024 assembly elections.”

Tweet By Arvind Kejriwal: https://twitter.com/arvindkejriwal/status/1597080372415954948?s=46&t=wlCwUjktttuy_C_vtTzFEg

Proximity to Delhi and Punjab

Haryana is in a special location because it borders Punjab and Delhi. In both states, the Aam Aadmi Party is in charge. The party previously ran in the Haryana elections in 2014 and 2019, but it fared horribly. But this time, things started to change after AAP’s victory in Punjab.

Kejriwal decided to revisit the plan to conquer Haryana after the Aam Aadmi Party won in Punjab. The AAP’s Rajya Sabha representative Sushil Kumar Gupta served as the party’s leader as it began its foundational work. According to him, Kejriwal’s rising popularity is primarily due to Haryana’s proximity to Delhi and Punjab.

According to Gupta, “The Aam Aadmi Party has many advantages in the state of Haryana. It borders both Delhi and Punjab, both of which are under our administrative control. Because of this, a sizable portion of the Haryana population has seen Arvind Kejriwal’s work. Similarly, the residents of Haryana who reside close to Chandigarh and other areas adjacent to the state of Punjab have also seen our work in the state since we came to power in Punjab. The party is growing in popularity at the moment, and the Arvind Kejriwal model of governance is being discussed.”

AAP’s groundwork and issues in focus

The leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party opined that the party had been active in Haryana for a long time, but lacked a strong leader and a credible face. After winning the Punjab assembly elections, the party appointed multiple Punjab MLAs to oversee the situation in Haryana. The cultural and regional proximity of Punjab and Haryana facilitated the Aam Aadmi Party’s ability to reach an increasing number of individuals. According to sources, after the initial groundwork of the Aam Aadmi Party in Haryana, Kejriwal felt the party was progressing in a positive direction.

During this time, Kejriwal inducted political figures such as former Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar, former Cabinet Minister Nirmal Singh, and his daughter. In addition to rebuilding the Haryana unit, the party was tasked with creating a grassroots organization by establishing mass connections.

Gupta said, “The Aam Aadmi Party is working with the people of Haryana on the ground. Every day, we visit the state’s citizens and attempt to comprehend their complaints and requests. Under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party will fight with the development agenda. But corruption is a major issue in Haryana, and it has become pervasive under the ML Khattar administration. Our first objective will be to eradicate corruption as quickly as possible. Second, the state requires education development, and our party will prioritize the construction of new schools throughout the state. We will also prioritize the development of healthcare by constructing additional hospitals and enhancing healthcare facilities. The primary objective of the Aam Aadmi Party will be to implement a governance model similar to that of Delhi and Punjab in the state.”

Agriculture and discontent against BJP

According to sources within the Aam Aadmi Party, during their groundwork and interactions with the public, the party engages in outreach and interaction. They have realised that opposition to the governing BJP–JJP coalition exists. The controversial farm laws enacted by the government of the Republican Party have sown the seeds of discontent. Over 50 per cent of Haryana’s population lives in rural areas, and they rely heavily on agriculture. The leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party believe that the lack of agricultural development, farm laws, non-implementation of MSP, and other issues have created a strong anti-incumbency against the government of ML Khattar.

Gupta said, “Agriculture is a major concern in Haryana, and the agricultural sector was severely impacted by the BJP’s rule. The credibility of the BJP among farmers was severely damaged by the controversial farm laws enacted by the party’s government. Today they are agitated and have decided to oppose the BJP because a significant portion of the state’s population is involved in agriculture.”

He added that the Aam Aadmi Party under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal stood beside the farm protest from the very first day.

The AAP Haryana in-charge said, “Today, the Punjab government is exerting considerable effort toward the advancement of farmers. The BJP and Jananayak Janata Party have caused significant harm to the farmer community, which is why the AAP is gaining support.”

Resentment against JJP

The leaders of the Aam Aadmi Party believe that the outcome of the Panchayat elections indicates that opposition to the JJP, led by Haryana’s Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, has reached its zenith. After the beginning of the farm protest, which forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw three controversial farm laws, controversy against the JJP arose.

The JJP’s core voters have become dissatisfied with the party. Meanwhile, former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala’s INLD began constructing roads in the state. In this Panchayat election, the INLD has also performed well, and there is a growing belief that voters who previously supported the JJP will switch back to the INLD. Significantly, Dushyant Chautala left INLD some years ago and established the JJP. It is also important to note that the AAP itself allied with JJP to fight the last Loksabha elections.

Gupta explained, “Initially, the Aam Aadmi Party believed that Dushyant Chautala was a new-age political leader with a future, vision, and perspective. It is regrettable that he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, and we believe that the JJP has destroyed itself by remaining allied with the BJP. The JJP was largely silent after the Bharatiya Janata Party introduced the three black laws to end the agricultural sector. Farmers comprise the majority of the JJP’s voter base, and the farming community is currently highly agitated against this political party. In the most recent Zilla Parishad elections, prominent relatives of JJP cabinet ministers and leaders lost miserably. This demonstrates the discontent of the people of Haryana with the JJP.”

Deplorable condition Of Congress

The condition of the Congress party in the state is comparable to that of several other states. According to AAP leaders, this circumstance has given the AAP an advantage. Additionally, congressional infighting is intensifying. AAP leaders opined that the Congress also failed the farmers of Haryana because the Haryana unit of the Congress was largely silent during the farm protests. Kejriwal’s party may be able to make inroads in the state due in large part to the growing discontent with the Congress, which has benefited the AAP. Notably, Arvind Kejriwal utilized the same strategy in Gujarat. First, the party performed well in local elections, and then it launched its major campaign for the assembly elections.

Gupta said, “There is no doubt that the Congress party ruled Haryana for a considerable period of time, but today they have lost their credibility and significance throughout India and in Haryana as well. In opposition, the Hoodas did not support the development of the agricultural sector or stand with farmers. There is a growing belief that Hoodas are involved in a number of corruption cases, which is why they propose a secret agreement with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Today and in the upcoming Haryana assembly elections in 2024, the Aam Aadmi Party will be the BJP’s principal opponent.”

The author is a columnist and doctoral research scholar in media and politics. He tweets @sayantan_gh. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.

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