Kejriwal to kick-start Punjab campaign next month

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will kick-start his Punjab campaign by addressing a mega rally in Muktsar next month, as the party gears up for polls in the state scheduled to be held in 2017.

The Delhi Chief Minister is also expected to spend a considerable time in Punjab from next year, party sources said.

The party is pitted against the Congress and the SAD-Akali Dal combine.

“I will address a mega rally in Muktsar in Punjab on January 14,” Kejriwal told PTI.

The party, which is yet to project any chief ministerial candidate, is banking on Kejriwal’s image to wrest power in the state.

In October, Kejriwal had visited Punjab, which was hit by protests due to desecration of Guru Granth Sahib. The party has been raising its voice against the problem of drug addiction and by raising issues related to farmers suicide and alleged irregularities in buying pesticides.

After having made its presence felt in the state during the Lok Sabha elections, AAP had recently made structural changes in the state unit, which irked many in the party.

AAP had opened its account in the Lok Sabha by winning four seats in Punjab in 2014 general elections. However, two of its MPs — Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa — have been suspended on the charge of anti-party activities.

To garner support from Punjabis residing abroad, AAP leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh had visited Canada to woo NRIs.

“NRIs play a major role in Punjab polls as almost every household has someone who is working abroad, majority of which stay in USA, apart from UK, Australia and Malaysia. The party had reached out to NRIs even during Lok Sabha polls and this is practised even by other parties.

“Even in this elections, the NRIs will play a major role,” said an AAP leader.