AAP’s Indranil Rajguru says the party will do well in the Assembly polls.
In June this year, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had announced a new organisation structure, which had a prominent leader Indranil Rajguru appointed as the National Joint Secretary of the party. An ex-MLA from the Saurashtra region between 2012-2017, The Sunday Guardian talked to Rajguru, known as the richest leader of Gujarat, to know why he left the grand old party, and how the AAP sees itself faring against the BJP and Congress, as the Gujarat Assembly elections are set for a triangular contest at the end of this year. Excerpts:
Q: You have been with the Congress till recently, what made you join the AAP?
A: Congress was falling short due to their internal issues. My aim was a BJP-free government in Gujarat, and Aam Aadmi Party can do that, so I joined the party. I am against the BJP. I feel BJP is anti-national and they should not rule in the state.
Q: AAP is a new party in Gujarat. What does the party primarily count on to gain electoral share in the state?
A: AAP is a party which comes right from the roots. They have raised themselves very quickly. In a year, they formed the Delhi government which is an impossible task. Quick on decisions and actions, they have honesty in their intent, nationalism in their chest and hard work on their mind. And they know how to reach the ground and in Gujarat, we have almost got to the ground.
Q: The Gujarat elections have been bipolar between Congress and the BJP. And for almost three decades, people have voted for the BJP. Why do you think people will vote for AAP?
A: People of Gujarat are facing troubling times. In this very era of price rise and high inflation, people know that AAP is the only party that can help families to at least exist in a proper manner by giving necessary services for free. People of Gujarat did not want BJP, yet they had no alternate at hand till now. Though Congress is there, they did not want Congress either. People of Gujarat think that both of them are the same kind of parties. So they are fed up with both the parties. People are aware how the Aam Aadmi Party has overcome corruption, build good schools, good healthcare etc. So they will vote for us.
Q: BJP will contest elections under brand Modi. The Modi factor works for the BJP. And AAP has chosen not to speak against PM Modi. So, how will the AAP counter that messaging?
A: In last elections in 2017, the BJP was branding PM Modi, but now they know the poor ground reality of their government and this time, they are not branding Modi. This time, the BJP is keeping his name away. Because they don’t want to dent the image of Modi.
Q: All opposition parties have time and again come together and tried to defeat BJP but failed. Gujarat is BJP’s stronghold, when we talk about politics. Experts say most of the secular votes will be divided between AAP and Congress, which will benefit the saffron party, like it did in Goa. Would a method be worked out to co-operate with Congress to defeat the BJP?
A: Let the elections come near, I think this matter does not require any decision right now. Let me tell you, we think we will get a landslide victory. We will break both the BJP and Congress. We will do what we did in Delhi and Punjab.
We did not connect with BJP or the Congress in both the states and yet we won. A similar thing is going to happen in Gujarat as well. Gujarati people are unhappy right now and we will take the lead in necessary services.
Q: Do you think the party should give a CM face early?
A: Yes. The party may decide that. Maybe an unknown face of AAP or a new face will come up. The party chief will decide that.
Q: What are the expectations from Gujarat?
A: I think nothing less than 125 seats.