Out of 40 Assembly seats in the state, the party is investing its energy in 15-17 constituencies where they sense a chance.

 

New Delhi: With the aim to increase its national footprint, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has stationed a large team of workers in Goa and wants to test success in the state. Out of 40 Assembly seats in the state, the party is investing most of the energy and logistics in 15-17 constituencies where they believe they have a chance in the upcoming Assembly elections scheduled in February 2022.

Sources in the AAP who are privy to the poll preparations told The Sunday Guardian that the recent internal survey conducted by the party signals that on 10-12 seats, the party had a good chance, while on 4-5 seats more work in the next two-three months would bring the AAP into the main fight. A senior party functionary who has been stationed by the party since the last three months said: “We are realists. The BJP and the Congress are two main players here. So, after six months of ground work, we have realized that it is better to focus more on the seats which we can win. If we win 8-10 out of the 17 focused seats, then we will be the kingmaker like the Delhi 2013 polls where we won 28 seats and formed the government. The second wave of Covid adversely impacted our preparations as for four months we lost touch with the ground. For a new party like us, we have to re-energize our cadres. Nevertheless, we are sure about a good show in the upcoming polls.”

Many in Goa believe that the down-top approach of the AAP Goa may result in some result as the party has been successful in poaching disgruntled second-rung leaders from the Indian National Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who wanted to fight the elections. Panaji-based social scientist Prashant Halarnkar said: “AAP came with a lot of promises and made noise through the local media and tried to cash in on its Delhi governance model based on freebies and tall promises, but they have to understand that the ground realities of each state are different. Goa is a much developed state compared to Delhi and has a robust health system. Per-capita income is also high; therefore, only promising basic infrastructure is not enough. Moreover, they lack an acceptable Goan face who is known among the people and this is another fault of the AAP. Undoubtedly, they had invested time, huge resources and micro-management. They have penetration in 10-12 constituencies, but can they sustain this for the next four months, is the question.”

The two principal players of the state, the BJP and Congress, had claimed that the rise of AAP in the state is a creation by the Delhi media and, in reality, the party has no presence in the state apart from two-three seats. Senior BJP leader Michael Lobo said: “The rise of AAP is a false thing. The party is nowhere in the state. They came with a lot of promises and used the massive resources of the Delhi government, but people have realized that they are not an option. The development works done by the BJP government in Goa is unparalleled which the AAP cannot match by any yardstick. None of the AAP members have the confidence of general voters. What you are seeing is the people and members of Delhi AAP here. They are not voters, so people will choose us only as we have worked on the ground.”