Party has been unable to find suitable leaders in Himachal to take on BJP and Congress candidates in their Assembly seats.


NEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has failed to find a capable leader in Himachal Pradesh, who could advance the potential of its state cadre. The party appears to have no answer to campaigns of the two national parties, Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party, which have been dominating the Assembly elections in the state.
In addition to that, the party, more importantly, has been unable to find suitable leaders who could fight in their respective Assembly constituencies against the BJP and Congress candidates. All that has caused the central leadership of the party to shift its focus from Himachal to Gujarat.
However, it has been known to party leaders that Bhagwant Mann will continue offering guarantees, which analysts believe, will have meagre effect as there is no assertion being seen by the party through campaigns on the ground. Moreover, the central leadership of AAP has abandoned its efforts to leverage its standing in the state realising that it will yield superficial electoral results in the state.
Party insiders claim that the party is eyeing those leaders now, whom the BJP and Congress will refuse to give tickets before the elections. “Then the party may have a chance of winning in two constituencies, if only they are strong candidates,” a party leader said.
Given the performance of the adjoining Uttarakhand in Assembly elections early this year, where even the party’s CM face had defected and joined the BJP, it is unlikely, according to leaders, to focus on Himachal Pradesh as the state faces similar challenges.
“When a bigger state, Gujarat, has more political and strategic importance, it is wise to stick with the state,” an AAP leader said.
“In Himachal Pradesh, we don’t have leaders who can fund their own campaigns. Moreover, AAP doesn’t want to use money in Himachal for nothing. And for the central leadership, it is difficult to campaign because of the state being hilly. Also, the Congress is strong there,” the AAP leader added.
Political observers say the AAP has emerged in those states where the Congress has been weak or where there are strong winds of anti-incumbency. For instance, in Delhi, the Congress was in power for 15 years, which was replaced by Aam Aadmi Party. In Punjab, there was again anti-incumbency against the Congress and SAD, which lead to AAP’s sweeping victory.
Talking to The Sunday Guardian, Aam Aadmi Party Himachal spokesperson Gaurav Sharma said, “Not at all, the focus has not been shifted, Gujarat is a bigger state than Himachal; it’s a rumour that we are concentrating on Gujarat and not in Himachal.”
Responding to no-visits to the state by Kejriwal in recent times, he added: “Yes, Kejriwal may also come soon. We have a potential here, we have commoners, we don’t have established leaders, but they are also clean faces.”