NEW DELHI: The AAP, which is contesting some seats in the Gujarat, today said it could have been a viable alternative to the Congress in the state, which goes to poll next month, had it not “lost six crucial months” after the jolt it received in the Goa and Punjab elections.
The party is contesting 10 constituencies in Gujarat and is likely to field candidates on few more seats, AAP’s Gujarat in-charge Gopal Rai said.
He also observed the mood in the state is in favour of the Congress but the party lacks the organisational strength at the grassroots level to get it translated into votes.
“We could have been an alternative viable in the state, but the party lost six crucial months,” Mr Rai told reporters.
He was referring to the time lost after the party’s string of poor performances in Punjab and Goa in March, and the debacle in the Rajouri Garden by-election and MCD polls in the national capital the next month.
Following the electoral jolts, the party focused all its energy on Delhi and strengthened its organisation here. It was only after AAP’s victory in the Bawana by-election in August that the party decided to contest a few seats in Gujarat.
But this wasn’t the party’s initial plan.
It had expected itself to do well in Punjab and riding on that wave, it intended to contest in Gujarat, a state where the BJP has been in power for over two decades.
Latching on to the Patidar agitation in the state and flogging of Dalits in Una, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Mr Rai and several senior party leaders visited Gujarat multiple times last year.
The AAP even deputed its Matiala MLA Gulab Singh as co-in charge to build the party there.
As the party’s focus again shifted to strengthening itself in Delhi, it lost the momentum.
Asked whether the party would get support of Patidar leader Hardik Patil and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, Mr Rai said they are hoping to get their help in the seats they are contesting.
“The mood in the state is in favour of the Congress, but it has no organisational presence. The BJP, in the last few days, seems to have picked up with its thrust being on door- to-door campaigning,” Mr Rai added.