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Concurrent MCD, Gujarat polls force Kejriwal team to ‘divide, rule’

The Delhi Municipal Elections (MCD) will be held on December 4 and the results will be announced on December 7. The Delhi elections come three days after the first stage of polls in Gujarat and one day before the second and final stage of polls in the state. The results of the MCD poll will be released a day before the results for Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat on December 8. For the 10-year-old Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which has crucial stakes in both the Gujarat and MCD polls, and opposes the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition congress, it is now a matter of juggling and wise use of resources.

AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal has raised the party’s commitment in Gujarat, home of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Secretary Amit Shah, by visiting the state regularly from April 4, following the party’s victory in Punjab. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann also accompanied Kejriwal and the duo addressed public meetings together, later split up for roadshows.

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Kejriwal has mobilized maximum resources for Gujarat, including manpower. AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sandeep Pathak, widely seen as the ‘organizer’ who played a key role in the party’s victory in Punjab; MP Raghav Chadha, who the party believes has an appeal among youth and effectively conveys the party’s position; and MP Sanjay Singh, known for his sharp political attacks and getting influential people to the party, are all sweating in Gujarat.

Apart from this, AAP Delhi MLA Gulab Singh Yadav, the party leader of Gujarat, has been practically in the state since the results of the 2020 Delhi elections. The party has also attempted to use Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids and interrogation. of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia as his calling card in Gujarat. In fact, Sisodia has campaigned in the state for nearly a week, apart from his trips with Kejriwal or those in which he tried to “expose” Gujarat’s educational model.

FAST AND FURIOUS

On November 4, when the dates for the MCD elections were announced, Kejriwal and Mann held a joint press conference in the national capital before flying to Ahmedabad to unveil the party’s chief ministerial face for Gujarat the same day. .
AAP minister Gopal Rai, the convener for Delhi, and MLA Durgesh Pathak, co-responsible for Delhi, focus on the MCD polls, where a win is a must for the AAP to claim success for its “Delhi model” and its national ambitions.

In addition, another core team has been formed, consisting of MLAs Saurabh Bhardwaj, Atishi and APMC chairman Adil Ahmad Khan. They would work directly with Sisodia. After the Prime Minister’s return to Delhi on November 8, the party has developed rapidly.

ALSO READ | MCD elections: AAP tells the ‘waste story’, BJP asks them to ‘clear the air first’

On November 11, Kejriwal presented the party manifesto in AAP’s signature style of ’10 Kejriwal Guarantees’, the PAC met the same day, the list of the party’s novice campaigners and the first list of 134 candidates came out the same night. The second list, which is expected to be the last, was published on November 12. The AAP chief will leave again to boost the party’s prospects in Gujarat and will not return to Delhi until the 15th.

THE 15 YEARS TIGHT

The party, despite winning 67 out of 70 Delhi Assembly constituencies in 2015, failed to win the MCD polls in 2017, paving the way for the BJP to score a hat-trick. In 2022, however, the party is confident of winning the MCD polls, perhaps explaining Kejriwal’s focus on Gujarat.

ALSO READ | MCD Polls: Kejriwal’s 10 Vows On Thursday As AAP’s ‘Jhadu’ Set To Clean Up Delhi; BJP Says ‘Fix Punjab 1st’

The party’s spokesman and AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj, who welcomed the data for the MCD polls, claimed it was a clear indication of the “nervousness of the BJP”. He claimed that the party has been preparing for MCD polls since April and unlike 2017, the party has a better track record of demonstrating, following the historic constitutional bench on the demarcation of powers between the lieutenant governor and the office of the Prime Minister.

“We have 62 MLAs, we have a record of our work, the BJP has nothing to show. In fact, our prime minister can focus on Gujarat,” said a confident Bhardwaj on the day the polls were called.

Veteran BJP leader and former mayor of South Delhi, Subhash Arya, previously said: “Reducing wards from 272 to 250 will only benefit the BJP. Our party gains 150-200 seats and records a comfortable victory in the polls.”

RE-CALIBRATION

However, the AAP has recalibrated its strategy and prompted its main campaigners – Bhagwant Mann, Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha – who focused entirely on Gujarat to campaign in Delhi.

ALSO READ | BJP Must Make Sukesh Chandrashekhar Its National President: Delhi CM Kejriwal

The party has also named Rajendra Pal Gautam, who resigned after attending a ‘diksha ceremony’, as a ‘star campaigner’ to win over the sizable share of Dalit voters. The biggest impact of simultaneous elections in Delhi and Gujarat will be on the schedule of Kejriwal, who has so far only campaigned in Gujarat but will now have to host Delhi as well.

AAP’s meager fighting machine will have to divide to do justice to Gujarat and Delhi.

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