The Congress party is aping the Aam Aadmi Party went the rant on the first day of the first month of 2014. It was supported by Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam who blared from the city’s tower-tops that the Congress party would fight to get power tariffs in Mumbai cut by half, forgetting that his own party runs the government in Maharashtra. Why fight, and the threat to launch an agitation, then?
Told of this, Delhi CM and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal quipped in Delhi, with a broad smile: “We’ll teach them politics.”
But it seems the Congress doesn’t need lessons to follow in the footsteps of AAP — not after the drubbing it received in Delhi in the assembly elections. And especially not after the way the AAP is going about fulfilling its poll promises — free water and a half-cut in power tariffs that will benefit a significant section of the electorate to begin with.
Yes, AAP is showing the path to the Congress and, some would say to the BJP also, though that would be tempered by the fact that the BJP too had promised a 30% cut in power tariff in its Delhi poll manifesto.
Meanwhile, AAP leaders were in Mumbai on Wednesday talking with “concerned people”, and top corporate executives. AAP followed this up with saying that it would contest as many Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha seats as it can in the state. AAP appears to be in a hurry to test its “freebies-for-votes” strategy all over India, and Mumbai is fertile ground.
AAP national executive members Prashant Bhushan and Mayank Gandhi along with state executive leader Gajan Khatu addressed the media at the AAP office in Andheri. “We have received 73,000 applications from across the country for the Lok Sabha elections. Most of these are from Maharashtra. They are being looked to select candidates for the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections,” said Mayank Gandhi.
AAP also claimed that around one lakh people from across India had joined the party. These include prominent names like eminent lawyer Phiroze Palkhivala, son of Nani Palkhiwala, and activist and media-person Meera Karnik. On Wednesday, former Infosys biggie V Balakrishnan also joined the AAP bandwagon.
Asked why he had joined AAP, Phiroze Palkhivala said, “I have never been a member of any political party. The reason I joined AAP is that there is no other alternative to the nonsense we have been subjected too all these years. I think this is the moment we were all waiting for. It will be very stupid if we miss this chance.”
Bhushan, who has been on an all India tour all this week speaking on AAP and its intentions, said AAP will fight elections to give people an alternative. “We will not just provide a clean alternative to both BJP and Congress but we’ll also change the way administration is,” said Bhushan, adding that AAP will never ally with any mainstream party.
On January 20, the AAP will be holding a seminar on agriculture issues in Pune. It stated that problems of sugar growers, onion growers and cash crop farmers and those of dry land farmers and cotton growers will be on the agenda.