Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann are in Madhya Pradesh today, campaigning to add yet another state to the Aam Aadmi Party’s bag. Yesterday, the two were in Rajasthan, which, along with Madhya Pradesh, will be up for election by the end of this year. AAP has announced that would contest all 200 assembly seats in Rajasthan and 230 seats in Madhya Pradesh.
At a public meeting in Bhopal, Mr Kejriwal hit out at the ruling BJP and its predecessor Congress over the defection of Jyotiraditya Scindia which pulled down the Kamal Nath government.
“In Madhya Pradesh, governments are bought and sold. After every election, one party hist the road with a pushcart, crying ‘MLAs for sale’. Another party is sitting ready to buy. They have made a market of the system and democracy itself,” he said, without naming anyone.
“The people in Madhya Pradesh are frustrated. No matter who they vote for, the government of ‘mama’ will come,” he added in a dig at Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Both Delhi and Punjab were ruled by the Congress before AAP wrested power from it. The party is expecting to break into two more — Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh — this year.
Chhattisgarh also goes to polls this year along with Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In 2018, all three states were won by the Congress, but the party lost control of Madhya Pradesh in 2020 with the walkout by Jyotiraditya Scindia along with 20-odd MLAs supporting him.
AAP’s high-profile campaign in BJP-ruled Gujarat in the last round of assembly elections, though, fell short of expectation. The party, which contested 180 of the state’s 182 seats, won only five. Around 120 candidates lost their deposit. The party, however, gained national party status by scooping up nearly 13 per cent of votes.
This time, besides Madhya Pradesh, AAP is also contesting in the other BJP-ruled state, Karnataka.
In Madhya Pradesh, the party, which had around 5 lakh members, is buoyed by its performance in the urban local body polls in July-August last year, where it claimed it had garnered 6.3 per cent of the vote share.
It had fielded 1,500 candidates for local body polls and managed to win the mayor’s post in Singrauli.