New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appears ready to go for broke in Punjab. Party strategists are learnt to be toying with the idea of shifting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s base to Punjab six months before the state goes to the polls in 2017. Kejriwal is also convenor of the nascent party.
The party appears excited by the response it has received in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and rallies organised across the state.
There are two views in the party. The first one is Kejriwal step down as the Delhi Chief Minister and shift to Punjab by handing over the reins of the office to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. The second view is that Kejriwal should continue as the Delhi Chief Minister, but shift to Punjab around the Assembly elections to strengthen the party’s grip there.
Sources in the party said if the party decides to take the plunge, the change of guard (in Delhi) could come in the second half of next year.
Punjab affairs’ in charge of the party Sanjay Singh was reportedly asked to assess the party’s poll prospects in all 117 Assembly constituencies of the state. He has been also asked to identity a location where Kejriwal could acquire a residence. Sanjay Singh, however, denied that there was any thought that Kejriwal should relinquish the charge of the Delhi CM’s post and shift to Punjab. “Kejriwal has got a mandate in Delhi to be its Chief Minister for five years,” he said.
He claimed AAP was poised to form the next government in Punjab and Kejriwal would camp here for around six months before the Assembly poll.
Outlining the AAP strategy, he said it would not align with any political party in the state and allot ticket to only those having a clean image. The people of Punjab wanted an alternative to the “corrupt” and “mafia-ridden” ruling SAD-BJP and the Congress, he claimed.