AAP Gujarat CM candidate Isudan Gadhvi says Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has proved that one can have a quality life without paying expensive taxes.
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election 2022, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has chosen former journalist Isudan Gadhvi as their CM candidate. In an interview to The Sunday Guardian, he stated that the party has already replaced Congress and is now focussing on replacing BJP in the state. Excerpts:
Q: Despite the fact that Delhi has a pollution problem, why do you believe in the Delhi model?
A: Everyone, including Delhi residents, knows that the city has several high-quality schools, hospitals, mohalla clinics, free bus services, electricity, and other amenities. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, without increasing any taxes on Delhi people, has been able to prove that one can have a quality life without paying expensive taxes. So, I believe in the Delhi model. And the problem of pollution is present everywhere, including in Ahmedabad and Noida. However, the intention of CM Arvind Kejriwal is quite clear, and he has been working on this (pollution). Pollution is not the result of one factor but several, like industries in the nearby areas. In Gujarat, cities such as Ankleshwar and Bantwa, have water crises, and the Sabarmati River is also unclean; however, there is no point in playing blame game. Instead, we, including the states of other CMs and the Prime Minister, need to tackle pollution problems.
Q: Is AAP trying to replace Congress in Gujarat?
A: AAP is trying to replace both parties (BJP and Congress) in Gujarat. Since Congress has already been replaced, people have started believing in AAP. I had also been a political journalist, and I observed that in the 182-seat Gujarat Assembly, the Congress was stronger in 2017, but looking at the present scenario, when the district panchayat election happened in Gujarat, Congress didn’t get any votes. In 2015, the Congress won 27 out of the 31 district panchayat elections. You can also see that in Mahanagar Palika, Congress has not won the majority. The AAP has replaced Congress, but we are now focusing on replacing the BJP, which has been in power for 27 years.
Q: In the 2017 election, the performance of AAP was poor in Gujarat. Why? How is this year going to be any different?
A: During that time, I was a journalist, and the presence of AAP was not strong. There would have been no third-party entry if Congress had been strong. In 2017, Congress was stronger, and AAP didn’t focus on the election much.
Q: AAP is focusing on the Saurashtra region to a greater extent, why?
A: As per the CSDS survey report, approximately 61% of people want change, and 51% of people said that they want a third party. We are not only focusing on the Saurashtra region. When we conducted a sabha in Khedbrahma (north), there were around 1 lakh people in the sabha. Similarly, when I, along with CM Arvind Kejriwal, visited Dharampur (southern tribal area), around 80,000–90,000 people were demanding change. Also, in Surat (South),
I believe that out of 16 seats, we will win at least 8 to 9 seats. In southern areas of Gujarat, the farmers are facing problems with the sugar mill. In the 54 seats of Saurashtra, the AAP will win at least 35 seats. This is because Saurashtra’s farmers are fed up with the water crisis and crop failure. As I am from Saurashtra, the farmers over there know me well. When I was in journalism, I raised several issues for the farmers and helped them.
Q: AAP has promised 300 units of free electricity. However, the Delhi government has now asked for a power subsidy. Do you think the same thing will happen in Gujarat?
A: Delhi residents have been enjoying free electricity for 7 years. Now, the BJP in Delhi had issues with free electricity, so CM Arvind Kejriwal has now asked the residents to apply for power subsidies, whoever needs them. In Punjab, the residents are enjoying free electricity.
Q: Why is AAP against the Uniform Civil Code (UCC)?
A: If the central government wanted to implement the UCC, it would have applied many years back. In UP, the committee for implementing the UCC has not even been formed. Similarly, when there was talk of implementing the UCC in Uttarakhand, the committee was formed right before the election, but no result has come out, so far. In MP, there is no committee to discuss the implementation of the UCC. So, the intention of the central government is unclear at the moment.
Q: Some supporters of Gopal Italia, who is from the Patidar community, are angry that you have been selected as the CM candidate. Is the AAP playing caste politics here?
A: AAP doesn’t play caste politics. Currently, Gopal Italia is the president of the AAP in Gujarat. No one is angry.
If the people of Gujarat had chosen any other candidate, we would have happily accepted them, irrespective of caste. We will be focusing on the implementation of policies like a corruption-free state, helping farmers, and so on.