Minutes after the Election Commission announced the poll schedule for Gujarat — voting on December 1 and , result on the 8th — AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was quick to declare that his party would “definitely win”, and followed it up with a one-minute “message with love”, in Gujarati.
The party later backed it up with a claim carrying huge numbers.
“I am your brother, part of your family. Give me one chance and I’ll give you free electricity; build schools and hospitals… and take you to Ayodhya’s Ram Temple,” said the Delhi Chief Minister whose party, upbeat after winning Punjab early this year, is hoping to make a dent in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, a BJP stronghold of over two decades.
The AAP also took aim at the BJP’s alleged “huge corruption that came to the fore in Morbi”, where a bridge collapse on October 30 killed more than 130 people.
“We are winning 90-95 seats (of the 182) now. And if this pace continues, we will win 140 to 150 seats,” AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj told NDTV after the date declaration.
The party is fielding candidates for all 182 constituencies this time, confident of a turnaround from 2017, when it contested around 30 seats but made no impact.
The Congress, which says its lowkey campaign is a thought-out strategy, is the main opposition in the Gujarat assembly, but the AAP claims it’s not in the contest this time. “The Congress is rejected and finished. What’s the point of even talking about it?” Mr Kejriwal has said. The party spokesperson built on that: “Congress and BJP play friendly matches.”
Mr Bharadwaj, MLA in Delhi, further claimed, “This election is about free-of-cost and world-class education — the kind we have provided in Delhi — and about world-class mohalla clinics.”
Mr Kejriwal has made several tours to Gujarat over the past few months along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, showcasing what the AAP calls the “Delhi model of development”, besides making overtures to the BJP’s core Hindutva voter with demands such as Hindu gods’ images on banknotes.
Having increased its vote share in 2017, the Congress says the election is not even a three-way contest as the AAP’s claims are “just its usual big talk”.
The BJP, too, sees the AAP as a non-starter in Gujarat.
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