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Assembly polls: AAP's dilemma: To contest or not to contest

With party workers in Maharashtra keen on participating in the upcoming assembly polls, Arvind Kejriwal’s statement to stay out of the fray has proved a dampener

After a dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is now standing at a fork in the road. On the one hand, party president Arvind Kejriwal has decided to concentrate only on the Delhi elections and, on the other, party workers from Maharashtra are keen on participating in the upcoming state elections.

 
Despite Arvind Kejriwal’s (left) statement that the party will concentrate only on the state elections in Delhi, Anjali Damania, Maharashtra convenor of the party, said she will apprise the central committee of the volunteers’ decision. File pic

After holding nine chintan shivirs in the state, when the leaders of the party asked if they should stand for elections, on Saturday, the volunteers responded in the affirmative. However, in light of Kejriwal’s statement on Monday about his reluctance to let the party stand for any other state elections, AAP’s Maharashtra unit has now decided to go for another referendum, and will give its final decision on Monday, July 7.

“Party workers don’t want the confusion in the MNS, which initially decided to stay out of Lok Sabha elections and later fielded candidates, to be replicated here. But they are feeling the same way to a certain extent after voicing their support for contesting in the assembly polls and being told that the party may not contest,” said a senior party member.

While AAP workers are not keen on contesting for all 288 seats, Anjali Damania, state convenor of the party, confirmed that they still want the party to contest. “The feedback from volunteers was that we should contest in limited seats. Currently, even the party is not financially sound enough to contest in all seats and our organisational base is also not that strong yet.”

It seems that even, Mayank Gandhi, a member of the party’s national executive committee is reluctant to let it contest in the Maharashtra elections. Damania, however, has assured workers that she will inform the party’s central committee in Delhi about the workers’ decision. “In our party, it is not the leaders who take decisions; our volunteers decide and we act on it. My job is to convey their final decision to party leaders in Delhi,” added Damania.

“Many party members will feel dejected if we don’t contest in October. They are all charged up, and if we decide not to contest, they may start questioning what our aim was behind starting the party in the first place” said another leader from AAP.

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