The second rung leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) are ready to jump ship and board the Aam Aadmi Party train. So claimed AAP on Friday, the day it kick started its nationwide free membership drive.
“In NCP’s case, except for the top leaders almost everyone else wants to join AAP. That’s true of the MNS, BSP and SP, too,” Mayank Gandhi, executive member of AAP, said.
Gandhi was speaking at a press conference — the party called after an awareness drive on local trains — in Azad Maidan. He spoke of the rising popularity of the party, on Raj Thackeray’s “AAP and baap” remark, the NCP’s statement on AAP and Kiran Bedi’s certificate of approval to Modi. He also gave inklings of the party’s strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.
Raj Thackeray had on Thursday dismissed AAP with “we’re the baap” comment while NCP opted to pick up “maa” to describe itself vis-a-vis AAP. “I cannot stoop to the language Raj Thackeray uses. And if NCP calls itself AAP’s mother, then it’s sad to have such a mother. NCP is a party that was made for corruption. If the Congress is the most corrupt party in India, NCP is the most corrupt party in the state,” said Gandhi.
Gandhi repeated some old accusations and double standards Raj Thackeray has often been accused of. “Raj is in partnership with Manohar Joshi’s son in Kohinoor. The two of them bought the place for Rs458crore, some of it was official and some of it was unofficial. He sends his children to an English medium school instead of a Marathi medium school,” alleged Gandhi.
Terming the Adarsh scam ‘no better corruption model’, Gandhi said all the parties in the assembly wanted it buried. “When the state rejected the Adarsh commission report, the message sent was ‘we’ll do this, do what you want...’ It was a challenge.” He said the Adarsh flats should be allotted to the poor.
As for Bedi’s endorsement of Modi, Gandhi said it was good that she has finally come out in the open. “During the India Against Corruption movement she was always reluctant to say anything on the BJP. We never thought much of it. We invited her to be the chief minister of Delhi but she did not want that. She always supported the BJP even in her tweets. It is better that now she is doing it openly,” Gandhi said.
Nearly four lakh people have joined the AAP in the state, Mayank Gandhi, executive member of AAP, said. This figure will rise to at least 10 lakh by January 26.