Undeterred by poll debacles in Gujarat and Karnataka, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is going to contest all the 230 seats in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh where Assembly polls are likely to be held in November this year.
The AAP’s Madhya Pradesh unit has already declared two lists of candidates till Friday.
The party on Friday released its fresh list of 19 candidates, whereas other political parties like the BJP and Congress are yet to come out with any list of candidates for the Assembly elections.
The AAP is also expected to release the full list of its candidates by the end of August, so that candidates get enough time to campaign in their respective constituencies, according to AAP sources.
Alok Agarwal, senior AAP leader and convenor of Madhya Pradesh, told The Sunday Guardian that the party decided to contest on all the 230 seats because of its organisational strength in Madhya Pradesh.
“We have our organisation in all the 230 seats across the state. We have been working to build this organisation since the last four years and now we have our volunteers in every booth, and booth level organisation in every booth is enough to give confidence to the party to contest on all seats. Moreover, there is huge anti-incumbency against the present government. People have seen both the Congress and BJP in power. The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government is neck deep in corruption and people of the state want to see change this time. They want to give us a chance, given the fact that we have done extensive work in Delhi.”
AAP, which contested Assembly elections in states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Goa, could not open its account in these states.
In Gujarat, AAP, which contested 30 seats out of the 182 Assembly seats, drew a blank, with its candidates losing even their deposits in almost all the seats. Not only this, in some constituencies, the number of votes that AAP candidates secured was in two digits.
The story remains the same in Karnataka. In the Karnataka Assembly elections that concluded recently, AAP contested 29 of the 222 seats, but the party’s candidates lost deposits in all the seats it contested.
However, Alok Agarwal said: “In these two states, the AAP did not contest on all the seats. The fight was more symbolic than to form a government. In these two states, the central leadership also did not go and campaign. But the case for Madhya Pradesh is different. We are fighting with our full might like we did in Punjab. Even the central leadership is visiting the state frequently. We had Sanjay Singh, senior leader and Minister Gopal Rai and Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta visiting the state frequently. Even Arvind Kejriwal had visited the state and is also likely to address some rallies in the state. Delhi has concentrated on Madhya Pradesh and it is completely different from what it was in Gujarat and Karnataka.”
In Madhya Pradesh, AAP is also not shying away from an alliance with smaller or regional parties in the state. According to sources in the AAP’s Madhya Pradesh unit, the party is in talks with several smaller parties in the state.
A source in AAP said: “The party is open to an alliance with non-Congress and non-BJP parties in the state. We are already in talks with several smaller parties. The Left parties, including the CPI and CPM, are likely to come on board with us. We are hoping that other parties, too, would come on board to take on both the Congress and BJP in the state.”
The Left parties had secured almost 4% of the total votes in Madhya Pradesh in the last Assembly elections held in 2013, while other parties like the BSP had 9% vote share, and SP and JDS combined had over 6% vote share during the last Assembly elections of 2013.
The AAP, which had contested the 2014 general elections from several parliamentary seats in the state, secured an average 2% vote share in the state.
The AAP, which is making a foray into the Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh for the first time, is also likely to announce a chief ministerial candidate to take on the BJP and Congress and instil faith among the electorate.