Driving towards political hotspot Hisar from Bhiwani one may not even give a second look to a small town Sivani but in run upto the 2014 Lok Sabha elections the town is witnessing hectic political activities as it is the hometown of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal.
Around 35 people including Kejriwal’s cousins, uncles, neighbours and his school time friends are busy spearheading campaign for AAP, which is fast gaining popularity in the rural areas. But in the same breath they sincerely admit of still not being able to drum up enough support in the caste dominated politics of Haryana to have winning number.
Kerjiwal’s young cousin brother Chiranji Bansal who is leading the work with local volunteers to reach out to nearly 12,000 voters in Sivani and nearby villages stated that they are expecting over one lakh votes from the total of around 14.73 lakh votes in the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh seat.
“It will be good start. A lot of people are supporting us but they fear in coming out clearly in our support. They fear that their work would not be done by local authorities for supporting AAP or worse they could be targeted by rivals. But one thing is sure that not just those who are educated or from a little urban profile, people from even rural areas are showing keen interest in Arvind Bhaiya and AAP,” Bansal told dna.
Kejriwal’s uncle, father’s younger brother, Girdhari Lal echoed Chiranji’s statement. “There are a lot of voters across Haryana who are silent supporters of party but are not coming out openly. In private they extend their support to us and promise to vote for us,” Lal added.
Kejriwal’s school friend Krishan Kumar, who runs a local shop on the highway in the area, said he has not met Kejriwal from long but he believes in his work and that is why he is supporting him. He wears an AAP cap and spread the message for party through his shop only.
Similar story is being played across the hinterlands of Haryana. At several places, the party has made quite an inroad into an otherwise difficult state in terms of electoral maths. Not just AAP has created a good volunteer base in urban-rural areas alike but it is also trying to put in place a completely party organisation structure before assembly elections in Haryana.
For instance, one would hardly expect to find an AAP office alongside a broken road in the inner areas of Mahendargarh seat. But a small office in an area like Satnali gives a glimpse of inroads that AAP has made in Haryana. The AAPs Satnali office is along an inner road of the town and has been started by a local shopkeeper Ajmer Singh only a couple of month ago.
Since then he has been receiving a regular stream of visitors who enquire with him about AAP, its plans and leaders, especially Kejriwal.
Across the state, whether it is Faridabad constituency or Gurgaon in the national capital region area, rural areas like Jhajjhar and Mewat and other places like Hisar, Kurukshetra or Karnal, AAP has acquired a mind and heart space among people. AAP’s eyes are set on Haryana assembly elections which are to take place after 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
An INLD leader said though they are sure about AAP not winning any seat in Haryana right now but it would certainly get some vote and the vote it gets could be crucial in the triangular contest between BJP, Congress and INLD.
Kejriwal’s cousin too admitted that the campaign at present would certainly help them in Haryana assembly elections. “We know that we are not that strong right now but our eyes are set on Haryana assembly elections too where the area to be fought is smaller compared to Lok Sabha constituencies. Party has already declared that it will fight the assembly elections and AAP would be serious player that time,” Chiranji Bansal added.
However, political parties like Kuldeep Bishnoi led Haryana Janhit Congress, BJP or Congress all have been dismissive of AAP factor in Haryana elections stating that it would get very few votes only.
Congress’s sitting MP from Faridabad, during an interaction with dna, said: “AAP is no factor in Haryana.”