Assembly elections

AAP hopeful of big win

Print edition : February 17, 2017

Bhagwant Mann. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

THE Aam Aadmi Party’s campaign committee chairman for Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, says the AAP will perform better than its record performance in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections and its opponents will be routed.

Excerpts from an interview:

How do you assess the AAP’s prospects in the elections?

This will be a very big revolution. Punjab is the gateway of India for the Aam Aadmi Party. Historically, many revolutions have begun here. Just as the Green Revolution began here, this [AAP’s revolution] will begin here too. Delhi’s record [electoral performance of AAP in the 2015 Assembly elections] is under threat. There they [the opposition] could at least win three seats, here they seem to be headed for a complete washout. Kids, 90-year-olds, women—all are coming out enthusiastically in support.

One often hears of a region-wise split in public response to the Congress as well as the AAP. Majha is seen as a weak spot for the AAP. How do you assess the situation?

The Akalis have scared off Majha like the British would. They created riyasats [personal estates] of Majithia and others.

The region has a parcha culture [the practice of lodging fake cases against political opponents] and all goondas are based there —[Bikram Singh] Majithia, Virsa Singh Valtoha, Bonnie, Kairon. Majha will win us a greater percentage [of votes and seats] than Malwa.

Our government will be formed solely on the seats from Malwa; we will win 60 plus seats here. It is possible that out of 23 seats in Majha we will win 21. So that makes it greater percentage-wise. There is going to be one-sided voting [for AAP]. Entire villages are coming to us.

The Congress’ campaign has picked up in the past couple of months and the party is seen as a serious contender now unlike before.

Does Captain Amarinder Singh respect constitutional institutions? When he was elected to the Vidhan Sabha, he did not attend it for a day. If any student has such poor attendance, he will not be allowed to give his exams. He has the worst attendance in Parliament. I have the most attendance.

Both [the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Congress] will get seats in single digits.

The election management skills of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal are said to have won the SAD an unexpected victory in the 2012 Assembly elections. What do you anticipate this time?

Sukhbir Badal’s micromanagement and Prashant Kishor’s so-called management are going to fail. The careers of both will be finished.

Arun Jaitley recently said in Amritsar that division of votes in the opposition will be one of the factors that will help the SAD-BJP come back to power.

Did Jaitley ji himself win [from Amritsar]? How can he ask others to win?

Akshay Deshmane

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