Mission Mumbai on AAP's agenda

Published: 09 December, 2013 06:36 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh |

After their stellar performance in the Delhi elections, Aam Aadmi Party workers set their eyes on Mumbai for the general elections, identifying problems and analysing performances of MPs and MLAs in targeted areas through RTI requests

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has begun their political innings with a mighty performance, ousting the incumbent Congress in most constituencies in the Delhi assembly polls. But the party has already set its plans into action to garner support in Mumbai and the rest of the state for the forthcoming general elections.

Mayank Gandhi addressing a press conference at Azad Maidan

Activists of AAP have been collecting data about the performance, utilisation of government funds in the different constituencies, and wrongdoings if any, of the ruling Congress-NCP and the opposition BJP-Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs. “We are going to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls and later the state assembly elections,” said Mayank Gandhi of AAP, when asked about the mood within the party unit in Mumbai.

“We are more than convinced that people want us. This was amply displayed in Delhi, where despite a sustained campaign launched by Congress and BJP, people opted for AAP,” he said. While politicians of ruling or opposition parties do not speak much about the AAP, the state government officials working in Mumbai and surrounding areas are aware of the party’s moves.

Members of the Aam Aadmi Party celebrate their astounding performance in the Delhi assembly elections at Azad Maidan yesterday. Pics/Shadab Khan

“AAP activists, using the tool of RTI, have been collecting crucial data about utilisation of MP and MLA funds, work carried out through MHADA and district collectors’ offices, details of land deals and violations, if any, while using the government lands,” said a senior government official requesting anonymity.

AAP workers were particularly elated after sensational revelations related to irrigation projects, and the heat that BJP ex-chief Nitin Gadkari and water resources minister Sunil Tatkare had to face, following AAP’s campaigns. The party has been in the process of collecting ammunition that may offer severe jolts to the ruling as well as opposition leaders, they say.

“Even though attempts were made to demoralise us after Maharashtra convener Anjali Damania revealed sensational details about the irrigation scam and involvement of the opposition party like BJP, we are not going to leave the campaign midway,” said an activist of AAP.

Victory in Delhi assembly elections is certain to boost confidence of the AAP’s Mumbai unit. “Like it happened in Delhi, where the ruling Congress was relegated to the third position, even BJP found it tough to reach pole position,” said a senior official from the state government, adding, “Bureaucrats in Mumbai are finding it tough to deal with AAP activists.”

Not just mumbai
Anjali Damania, Maharashtra convener for AAP said, "We are looking at Maharashtra as a whole and not only Mumbai, as we have to spread awareness in the whole state. We appeal to all people who wish to do something for the country and want to curb corruption to join us and support us."

With their district committees in place in almost all the parts of the state and people supporting them increasingly, the party feels it’s an added advantage. But for Mumbai, the party has a specific agenda, for which campaigns have already begun via social media to appeal to the youth. On AAP’s radars are three of the city’s most common problems — houses and open spaces, power supply, and water shortage.

AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma-Menon, said, "We have been able to reach this juncture only due to social media. We believe in giving the youth exposure. For Mumbai, our main issues will be housing, electricity and water supply. We will also focus on encroachment of open spaces."

- Chetna Yerunkar 

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