Last Updated: February 25, 2023, 10:45 IST
The party’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal, along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, is set to kick-start the official campaign in the poll-bound state on March 4.
According to senior party leaders, a huge rally has been planned at Davanagere district in the central region of the southern state for the official campaign launch. “Both party chief and the Punjab CM will sound the bugle for the official campaign for the polls starting with a massive rally in central Karnataka. All other programmes, including nukkad sabhas, rallies and roadshows, will follow after that,” said Dilip Pandey, senior AAP leader and party’s election-in-charge in the state.
Assembly polls in the southern state, which is currently ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are likely to be held in April-May. The AAP had earlier announced a “unique” manifesto for the state, deliberations for which are going on at the moment, party leaders said.
“It will be a three-part manifesto — region-specific, state-specific and local issues — deliberations for which are being held, both by the central leadership for region and state-specific issues while candidates are discussing local concerns. It is a large state with six cultural districts and hence, issues vary and need focused solutions,” said Pandey.
Larger issues such as weeding out corruption from governance, large-scale unemployment, and poor condition of farmers will be some of the major issues in the party’s manifesto. “Schools and hospitals in the state are in a bad shape and need major improvement. So is the condition of farmers in a state, which has an agriculture-driven economy. Besides, free electricity and water as well as women’s safety will feature in our manifesto,” he said.
When asked about when the list of candidates will be announced, Pandey said it will be out only after March 4. The party is currently running ‘Jhadoo Uthao, BJP Bhagao’ campaign in various districts, meaning to tell people that jhadoo (broom — AAP’s election symbol) is the only solution for the state, urging them to give “one chance to Kejriwal”.
With several corruption cases being highlighted from the state recently, it has become an issue that even the ruling party in Karnataka has been promising to address in its ongoing campaign.
Last month, the central AAP leadership had dissolved its state and district units ahead of the polls. A new structure was announced up to the district level while teams at the block and circle (a gram panchayat comprising 10 villages) levels will now be announced.
“There are around 58,000 booths in the state and over the past few months we have got in touch with a lot of new volunteers through our ‘Gram Sampark Abhiyan’ where we have gone out to each village and taluka to build the organisation,” he added.
The AAP plans to contest on all 224 assembly seats in the state. In 2018, it had contested on 28 of the 224 seats, but did not manage to win even a single one. With the ruling BJP facing several difficulties in the state, including corruption and infighting, and the Congress trying to gain lost ground, AAP — which is still new to the southern political landscape — may turn this election into an interesting contest.
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