Bengaluru: The resounding victory in the recent Punjab Assembly elections, comes as a shot in the arm for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Karnataka unit. The party has started its groundwork for the Karnataka Assembly elections that are due in the first half of 2023.
Even as the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are preparing for battle in Karnataka, the AAP, fresh from its victory in Punjab, smells opportunity in the southern State.
Speaking to IANS, AAP State Convener, Karnataka, Prithvi Reddy says, the people of the state will have a real alternative after a long time.
“In Punjab, Congress had ruled for 26 years, Akali Dal had ruled for 24 years. And people of Punjab felt let down. I think the situation is very similar in Karnataka. Now that they will have a real alternative I think Karnataka will vote in one way.
“The plus point is up to now we have spoken about the Delhi model very soon we will have a Punjab model. Delhi was a city government urban city. But there is a lot of similarity between Punjab and Karnataka because both are largely agrarian states so I think we will have a great model before the elections where we would have delivered things also to people in the rural areas of Punjab.
“So when we approach Karnataka elections it will be not only Delhi model but it will also be the Punjab model,” Reddy said.
Compared to the major Dravidian states like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where regional parties play a major role, Karnataka has by and large been a battleground for the national parties BJP and Congress, with the JD-S sometimes donning the mantle of kingmaker.
Down the years, the state has been open to new political options. Initially a Congress bastion, it proved to be a fertile ground for the Janata pariwar. From the late 80s onwards, the BJP is making inroads into Karnataka where it is the ruling party today.
The AAP is targeting all the three players in Karnataka.
“Post the Punjab election, people are understanding that if the common man comes together, no money or muscle power or popularity can beat them. So I think it’s a great opportunity for Karnataka because the existing traditional parties have let down the people of Karnataka through successive governments. These parties are divided, they have different names but their politics are all the same,” Prithvi Reddy said.
While AAP will continue banking on the party’s winning formula of focusing on providing basic necessities for people to live in dignity, Reddy clarifies that a Karnataka plan is also there in the works.
“Development in Karnataka has been restricted to Bengaluru City. North Karnataka has been neglected so we will have to have a specific solution for for that and which we have. You can’t copy paste something. Punjab’s problem was different, and Delhi’s problem was also different. So apart from the basic model, we had specific solutions for the people of the Punjab. We will have specific solutions for the people of Karnataka too,” he said.
Even as it is ranged against established players who are past- masters in the art and craft of winning elections in Karnataka, the AAP is unfazed about the competition.
This week, it embarked on a membership drive in the State. The first goal is to attract 50 lakh members by the end of April.
“I am confident that every candidate we are identifying in the next 3 months whether it’s a gram panchayat level, Taluk level, Jila Parishad level assembly level or in Bengaluru ward level, we are giving them three months time to go to every house and pass on the message that the AAP represents.
“After the three months’ time, we will do scientific survey across the state and ask people of that particular voting populations that if we field someone, will you ensure they will win. We want people to own the campaign and memberships is only a way to get people involved.
“It has to be a people’s revolution. We are not treating it like an election. We are treating it as a people’s Revolution and I am sure you will see very soon people will be painting the jhadu (broom) symbol on their doors across Karnataka.”
Even as the common man, from peanut sellers to medical practitioners are warming up to the AAP in Karnataka, Prithvi Reddy clarifies that their doors are open to politicians who are not corrupt, criminal, and communal.
“Sitting MLAs, MPs, ministers, former MLAs, MPs, ministers, second rung leaders who have never had the opportunity although they are the people who were really winning elections for the leaders. So many people are approaching us and you will see in the next two week, some big announcements coming up,” he signed off.