Gujarat politics have always revolved around two national parties, BJP and the Congress, at least for the last 22 years. The involvement of a regional or third-party has never been seen as a major factor in Gujarat elections. But in the recently held Gujarat municipal elections as well as local civic polls, the equation seemed to have changed a bit, though it is too early to say anything based on local polls.
Aam Aadmi Party which was never a competitor in Gujarat elections emerged as a force to reckon in these municipal elections and now not only they are eyeing to contest the Gujarat assembly elections but also looking to dislodge the Congress as the main opposition party in state. But just performing well in the municipal elections does not guarantees a performance in assembly elections yet Arvind Kejriwal is very much confident in changing the political roadmap of Gujarat forever.
What Happened in Recently concluded Local election?
The surprising thing about the recent local election was not the fact that BJP swept it but it was the fact that the Congress totally crumbled and new entrants in AAP and AIMIM made a major inroads in the state. In municipal election the gap between Congress and AAP was just 28 seats.
In total the BJP won all the six municipal corporations bagging 483 seats out of 576 seats. They had won 159 out of 192 seats in Ahmedabad, 68 out of 72 seats in Rajkot, 50 out of 64 seats in Jamnagar, 44 out of 52 seats in Bhavnagar, 69 out of 76 seats in Vadodara and 93 out of 120 seats in Surat. Congress in the other hand the Congress won 25 seats in Ahmedabad, four in Rajkot, 11 in Jamnagar, eight in Bhavnagar and seven in Vadodara, that is bagging only 55 seats in total.
AAP on the other had won 27 seats in Surat only but their gap with Congress had decreased. Congress had won 176 seats in 2016 municipal corporation elections and after that they put up a brilliant performance in the 2018 assembly elections winning 79 seats and if this same trend continues we could soon witness the rise of a new political force in Gujarat which is the Aam Admi Party.
Mission 2022 for Arvind Kejriwal
After a brilliant performance in the local polls the next target for AAP and Arvind Kejriwal will be the 2022 assembly elections in Gujarat. Though winning the whole thing in its first attempt would be too much to ask for but they can surely get some grounds or maybe dethrone the Congress as the main opposition party.
Whatever be the result, Gujarat for the first time could witness a tri-polar contest between BJP, Congress and AAP. We also need to remember that AAP has made significant grounds in Punjab in last election and are on the race to form its government there according to many experts but it took them 7 years to emerge as a contender.
The same theory can be applied to Gujarat too, as it might take another 5 or 6 years for them to even emerge as the main opposition party. Whatever may be the reason these outcomes in Gujarat for the AAP can surely be a motivation so that they can fight the upcoming elections with every bit they have.
How is AAP preparing itself for Gujarat Fight?
The main problem with Congress in Gujarat is that they have not fulfilled their responsibilities as an opposition party according to the AAP local leaders and spokespersons. They also blamed the Congress for the conduct of misrule by the BJP for so many years as they in the opposition couldn't raise their voices.
The AAP leadership in Gujarat said that they have roughly 20 months to establish themselves as the main opposition and to do so they will be launching a long membership drive across the state which will enable many local persons who believes in the AAP ideology to join the party.
Many Congress local leaders have already started to join the party after the municipal elections, Dinesh Kacchariya, a two time Municipal Councilor joined AAP on February 28. Around 20 Congress leaders have joined AAP and many more are likely to join.
Gopal Italia the head of AAP Gujarat unit said that while they still do not have any representative in the party for Gujarat, but still people had shown faith in them so that they could emerge as a better alternative to the BJP.
In concluding we can say that each day AAP is expanding, and Congress is getting faded in Gujarat. In upcoming Assembly election, AAP may emerge as a real force in state.
Winning Gujarat is a huge deal that to defeat BJP on its own turf, something which Congress could not do for 25 years, and a party which have just won few seats in Gujarat municipal elections could find it to be difficult in one go but gradually AAP is gaining grounds and by the time election arrives who knows they might come very close to BJP in terms of a strong opposition and a popular party