NEW DELHI: As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is busy with elections in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, party leaders in Jammu and Kashmir indicated that the northern state is the next important region where the party would speed up its political activities in terms of building state-level organisational structure first. The party has also started to pick up public issues to be in the eye of the masses.
Political pundits believe the Assembly elections in the state could be scheduled for 2023.
A party leader said, “For now, we have a provisional organisational structure in Kashmir and there are a lot of experienced leaders who have not been given any portfolio till now.” The party will subsequently form an executive council which will have a strength of 20 to 30 members who will be responsible for decision-making in the Union territory. According to sources in the party, the council could be set up in another two months and the leaders will either get a position in organisational structure or they will get a position in the executive council of the party.
“The party believes in one position at a time. It could be that the people who are going to contest elections will not be given any position in the party,” a senior party leader said.
Sources said that the party is in touch with a lot of former MLAs; around 10 MLAs have been seriously taken into consideration. The AAP in Jammu and Kashmir has also received guidelines from Delhi that the party should induct 25-30% of former state legislators or other seasoned leaders from other parties. The party further wants to replicate the Punjab model and field 65% first-timers in Assembly constituencies in the Union territory.
Experts believe that if the AAP is able to give a decent electoral challenge to the Congress and BJP in Himachal Pradesh, it will help the party add a feather to its political standing and spur more leaders from outside to join the party.
Dr Nawab Nasir, state general secretary of AAP in Jammu and Kashmir, said, “We have been conducting training programmes. Recently, there was a training programme of a thousand people in Jammu on Thursday, and the same training programme happened in Kashmir as well, where 1000 people were trained, they will further the message to the people, the same message they will pass on to the masses, they will tell the achievements of the party to people and what our intentions are, that’s what we are going to do in the next month, after that we will strengthen our organisational chart and also strengthen the party at the booth level.”
A senior journalist in Kashmir said, “There is not much visibility of AAP activities on the ground, but people are joining it; the way the party has gained membership in the Union territory after the Punjab win is phenomenal.”