Activist state

AAP strengthens the base in the state, plays the caste card | Bombay News

Sensing a political opportunity in Maharashtra, given the dwindling Congress stock, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is seeking to boost its prospects by recruiting candidates from all parties and castes. The party led by Arvind Kejriwal is strengthening its base ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

On Sunday, the party inducted former Lok Sabha MP and Other Backward Class (OBC) leader Haribhau Rathod. Rathod, who was last with the Shiv Sena, belongs to the Banjara community, which has a strong presence in parts of Vidarbha and Marathwada. Former policeman Dhanraj Vanjari also left Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA).

“The people of the state are fed up with rising inflation, corruption, misuse of central agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Directorate of Law Enforcement. law (ED), and factionalism in the established parties. They see the AAP as a solid alternative,” Rathod said, hailing the development models of Delhi and Punjab, where the party is in power.

Rathod is a former BJP MP from Yavatmal. He stayed out of the crucial no-confidence vote against the Congress government led by Manmohan Singh in 2008. He lost the Lok Sabha polls in 2009 to Shiv Sena’s Bhavana Gawali Patil as the Congress candidate and won then was appointed to the State Legislative Assembly. advice. He campaigned for the Shiv Sena in 2019.

Rathod and Vanjari may soon be given positions in the organization.

An OBC activist and an AAP sympathizer noted that the party’s Achilles’ heel was the lack of leaders with a strong caste base or mass appeal. Inducting leaders like Rathod, who have their pockets of support, could increase his electoral fortunes, he argued.

In the past, the AAP has tried to appeal to influential local leaders, such as an independent MP from Vidarbha, who now supports the regime of Eknath Shinde-Devendra Fadnavis.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the AAP fielded candidates from diverse backgrounds such as social activists Medha Patkar (North-Central Mumbai), Sanjiv Sane (Thane), Subhash Ware (Pune), Lalit Babar (Solapur ) and Subhash Lomte (Aurangabad) who have socialist origins. Wamanrao Chatap, a farmer leader and former Shetkari Sanghatana MP for liberal farmer leader Sharad Joshi, was Chandrapur’s AAP candidate.

“A number of Maharashtra Congress leaders are in touch with us. But we are also circumspect; it will also depend on what those leaders bring to the table. We will assess their credibility before onboarding them,” said Preeti Sharma Menon, National Executive Member and Chairman of Mumbai, AAP. She added that the party will focus on the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls and take advantage of the lack of secular options for voters.

The party did not contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and in subsequent assembly elections all of its 24 candidates lost their deposits.