Why appointment of Raghav Chadha as Gujarat co-in-charge shows state is a personal battle for Arvind Kejriwal

Raghav Chadha is a leader who is energetic, young, and passionate

Sayantan Ghosh September 27, 2022 13:17:22 IST
Why appointment of Raghav Chadha as Gujarat co-in-charge shows state is a personal battle for Arvind Kejriwal

Raghav Chadha. ANI

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha member Raghav Chadha was recently named the party’s co-in-charge of Gujarat, which says a lot about what Arvind Kejriwal hopes to gain from this election. Chadha is currently Kejriwal’s closest lieutenant, according to those in the Aam Aadmi Party. Arvind Kejriwal is attempting to keep control of the entire Gujarat campaign with this appointment. This implies that the Gujarat election campaign for the AAP national convenor will be run similarly to the Punjab campaign. Last but not least, more so than the significance of Raghav Chadha as a leader, this appointment speaks volumes about how personally important this Gujarat battle is to Arvind Kejriwal.

Lessons From Punjab And Goa

Arvind Kejriwal appointed Raghav Chadha to oversee Punjab and Atishi oversee Goa prior to the elections in 2022. It was well known that the Aam Aadmi Party’s primary focus was the Punjab elections, but sources claim the party also expected better results in Goa. A sizable portion of the AAP, however, holds that this did not occur because Kejriwal was not involved in Goa’s day-to-day strategy development. Throughout this journey, Chadha acted as Kejriwal’s ear and eyes. And AAP won Punjab.

Thus, Chadha’s loyalty was demonstrated when he was elevated to the Rajya Sabha and appointed as the chairman of the advisory committee for Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Singh Mann. Meanwhile, Atishi, a Rhodes scholar who helped the AAP government in Delhi create its educational model, was constrained to state politics during this time. According to Aam Aadmi Party sources, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal thinks Raghav Chaddha can live up to his expectations, which include never making decisions without consulting him first.

Team Arvind Kejriwal

Recently, Rahul Gandhi, the leader of the Congress, was linked to the word “coterie.” There is no denying that each politician has their own clique. Arvind Kejriwal works with a small group of people and pays attention to a select group. A senior party functionary who did not want to be named said, “Manish Sisodia, Satyendar Jain and Sanjay Singh are the closest aids of Arvind Kejriwal but we cannot say that he takes decisions based on the thoughts of these leaders.”

According to the reports and sources, the members of team Kejriwal are Bibhav Kumar (earlier private secretary to CM), Aswathi Muralidharan (earlier joint secretary to CM now a member of DDC), Gopal Mohan (member ), Jasmine Shah (Dialogue And Development Commission-DDC-vice chairperson) and Vijay Nair (former OML CEO). Then there are political leaders like Sisodia, Durgesh Pathak, Sanjay Singh, Satyendar Jain and others.

Rise Of Raghav Chadha

In 2013, Raghav Chaddha joined the Aam Aadmi Party and grew close to Manish Sisodia, the deputy chief minister. Raghav Chadha and Arvind Kejriwal grew close over time. He received a ticket for the South Delhi parliamentary district in 2019 and ran in vain. However, in 2019 and 2020, things changed. Under the condition of anonymity, a senior AAP official stated, “Raghav Chaddha was instrumental in bringing Prashant Kishor and I-PAC on board prior to the 2020 assembly elections. He demonstrated his proficiency with data management, statistics, and survey design during this negotiation.”

Raghav Chaddha, according to Aam Aadmi Party leaders, also played a significant role in preserving Arvind Kejriwal’s relationship with opposition leaders like Mamata Banerjee of Bengal, Stalin of Tamil Nadu, and even Nitish Kumar of Bihar. These two crucial pieces transformed Chadha, making him Kejriwal’s eyes and ears.

Personal battle

For several reasons, Gujarat is a key battle for the Aam Aadmi Party. Arvind Kejriwal’s ability to win some seats in Gujarat will help the party not only establish itself as a national force but also establish itself as a serious rival to the Bharatiya Janata Party. Arvind Kejriwal is fighting a personal battle in this election as well because this is the first time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has personally attacked the AAP where it counts. The AAP’s freebies offered prior to the state elections were criticised by the Prime Minister himself.

Arvind Kejriwal’s primary strategy for winning elections is to offer freebies, but his party consistently insists that these are social welfare programmes. Kejriwal has carefully manipulated the Gujarat conflict into a freebie versus BJP. If Kejriwal succeeds in Gujarat, it will show that his policies have received support from the public. It’s also crucial to realise that since Gujarat is Kejriwal’s first-of-its-kind venture against the BJP, he has nothing to lose there. Being a two-party-dominated state, Gujarat is the first where a non-BJP, non-Congress party has entered the fray to contest the state election. Arvind Kejriwal has benefited from the landslide victory in Punjab, but there is also dissatisfaction among Punjabi voters over the parties’ failure to keep many campaign promises.

Gujarat is a state where the Aam Aadmi Party has a lot to gain but little to lose. Kejriwal chose Raghav Chadha to serve as the co-in-charge for this reason. Arvind Kejriwal is reportedly dissatisfied with the grassroots organising and campaigning that has been taking place in the state under the leadership of Gujarat, according to sources in the Aam Aadmi Party. In Gujarat, the first party to form an alliance with the Bhartiya Tribal Party was the Aam Aadmi Party. Recently, though, this alliance fell apart, and the BTP is now likely to join forces with the Congress party. A sizable portion of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi holds the opinion that the alliance broke down because it wasn’t handled properly. These would be the key works of Chadha.

National ambition

Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party, is also well known for his aspirations for the country. On the same day as Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, he recently launched the Make India Number One campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party sources claim that launching Kejriwal as the prime ministerial candidate in the 24 general elections is the campaign’s ultimate objective. If Kejriwal wants to position himself as a prime ministerial candidate, the Gujarat election and its outcome will become crucial. Gaining ground in Gujarat, a state that is synonymous with Prime Minister Narendra Modi will aid Kejriwal in pitting himself squarely against the latter.

Kejriwal must prevent the state from falling into the hands of the local authorities in this circumstance. Whatever the opposition may say, the AAP chief wants his party and other AAP state governments to be run exactly as the Punjab government is. Raghav Chadha is a leader who is energetic, young, and passionate. Furthermore, unlike many AAP members, Kejriwal created his politics from scratch, so he lacks a strong political ideology. Therefore, his appointment is not a sign of political advancement but rather of Kejriwal’s style of exercising power.

The author is an independent journalist, columnist and a former policy research fellow at the Delhi Assembly Research Centre. He tweets as @sayantan_gh. Views expressed are entirely personal.

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