Kejriwal may shift to Punjab from Delhi
In a move fraught with far reaching ramifications for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is being pressurised by some of his supporters to shift to Punjab if the AAP secures a clean majority in the Assembly elections next year. Kejriwal has indicated to those close to him that he would not be averse to the idea, but would take the final decision after the election results. The AAP is clearly emerging as the main challenger to Punjab’s Shiromani Akali DalBharatiya Janata Party government, which has been in power for the past nine and a half years and is therefore facing a strong anti incumbency factor.
Sources said that the issue of Kejriwal going to Punjab has been discussed at the highest level in the party and continues to be a matter of great concern, since it would entail making substantial changes in the present set up. Kejriwal’s willingness also implies that in the event he takes the plunge in Punjab, post election, his deputy Manish Sisodia would automatically be his successor. In any case, Sisodia has virtually been functioning as the Chief Minister, providing ample time to Kejriwal to focus on the political scenario and instead concentrate on expanding the organisational network in other states.
The party is doing extremely well in Goa and as a consequence could pose problems for both the BJP and the Congress next year. Similarly, in Gujarat, the AAP has made deep inroads and the BJP’s primary apprehension is to prevent any kind of a tie up between the AAP and Hardik Patel, who has a substantial following amongst the youth in general and the Patidar community in particular.
According to sources, Kejriwal has done considerable homework so far as Punjab is concerned and is fairly confident that his party would secure not less than 70 seats in the 117-member Assembly. He has been regularly meeting the common people in the state and has been repeatedly reminded that he should under no circumstances accept traditional politicians in the AAP’s fold if he hopes to win the elections. He has also studied in detail the controversial Anandpur Saheb resolution and the contentious issue of the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal. He has also familiarised himself with the possible