The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Karnataka claims to have a huge potential and has started making inroads into the state political sphere by massively engaging in civic movements.
In the wake of the urban flooding and water-logging, the AAP in Bengaluru slammed the BJP government and its predecessor the Congress citing irregularities in the development of Rajakaluves. The AAP carried out evacuation of those affected in Mahadevpura and also helped remove vehicles stuck in water on the Outer Ring Road.
Speaking of its plans ahead, the party president in the state told the reporters that the AAP's focus is to win the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) elections later this year and eventually broaden its base through organisation building and also brand itself as an alternative to BJP and Congress.
Civic Movements: AAP's Entry Into Electoral Politics
The members of the AAP in Bellandur and Mahadevpura volunteered along with the BBMP and helped lift vehicles which were stuck in the water during the flooding in Bengaluru East a few days ago.
The cadre also engaged in distributing essentials to the affected pourakarmikas (sanitation workers) in Munnekollala camp as over 1,500 people had become homeless overnight.
Speaking to The Quint, AAP leader Ashok Mruthyunjaya said, "The BJP, Congress and JD(S) have failed Bengaluru as the existing roads, lakes, and infrastructure in the city is crumbling. People are looking out for options and good governance. This is where AAP comes forward as the right alternative."
The AAP has also formed BBMP manifesto committee, which is being headed by former NASA climate scientist Ashwin Mahesh.
According to sources, the main agenda of the AAP during the BBMP elections will be to ensure Bengaluru has pothole free roads, better infrastructure, lakes, and also a robust education and primary healthcare system.
"The BJP is indulging in eyewash policy implementation or just wants to send out a message by bulldozing buildings. We on the other hand, want to have a win-win situation for Bengaluru's flooding and infrastructure problems."Ashok Mruthyunjaya, AAP Leader
On the electoral front, the party's immediate aim is to do well in the polls to the city's civic body Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Highlighting the party's achievements in Delhi, the AAP claimed that it was able to win Punjab due to two factors – solid organisation building and local governance.
In a similar vein, the AAP will also organise a campaign – "Namme Oora Charche", a ward level activity engaging the people from the grassroots to identify and bring issues on the forefront in Bengaluru.
"We are focused not just on electoral politics . But, also wish to decentralise the entire process where we are trying to solving issues. The Namma Oora Charche aims at decentralising governance and pushes people to come ahead and recognise issues which can be part of the manifesto," added Ashok Mruthyunjaya in an interaction with The Quint.
AAP Best Alternative For Two-Party System: Bhaskar Rao
The membership drive of AAP which started two months ago has already witnessed an approximate enrolment of over 4,000 people in most of the wards in Bengaluru. However, the party has a target of enrolling 10,000 members in each of Bengaluru's 243 wards.
In an interview to The Quint, Bhaskar Rao, Vice President of AAP Karnataka and former Commissioner of Police in Bengaluru said, "We are getting ready for BBMP elections. In all likelihood, all three political parties (BJP, Congress and JD(S) will not allow BBMP election to take place. Their apprehensions are well founded in their fears. We do not fear anything. Our main emphasis is organisation building. We are creating individual leaders by picking honest people and honing their skills."
Speaking of BJP's financial resources, a Rajya Sabha member of the AAP who wished to remain anonymous told The Quint, "We are able to fight the BJP ideologically. We are secular and centrist in our approach. But, AAP cannot match BJP's financial resources as their budget for one assembly is our budget for the entire campaign in Karnataka. As of now, it is very difficult for us to make in-roads."
Apart from the BBMP elections, the Aam Aadmi Party in Karnataka wants to build the organisation at the state-level and expand its organisational network from the grassroots.
Similar to Namma Oora Charche, the AAP has also launched Gram Sampark Abhiyaan, to increase its footprint in rural Karnataka. According to sources in the party, the AAP is inducting a 10-member team in each of the booths across the state.
The party is appointing presidents, vice-presidents, general secretaries, organisation secretaries and social media heads for each of the 224 assemblies.
The AAP has also created ten frontal organisations which includes wings of women, youth, OBC, SC/ST, traders, minority, farmers and IT professionals. Each of these wings will also have office bearers who will take the responsibility of carrying out party's activities.
"The incumbent government's mismanagement alone will not help us win elections. We are creating a strong support base both in urban and rural regions of the state. We are looking for common people to participate in the democratic process and are inspiring people without much financial resources to work for the country."Bhaskar Rao, Vice President, AAP Karnataka
Speaking of MLAs jumping ship to join other parties and money being used to influence politics, the AAP vice-president said that he did not mind losing the elections, but would rather take the party in the right direction.
"Today, we are in power in Delhi, we won Punjab with overwhelming majority and our internal research says that we are going to make a huge dent in BJP's bastion Gujarat by winning at least 60 seats. Now, with our increasing activity in Karnataka, we are certain that people will welcome as the real alternative to the BJP and Congress in the state," added Rao.