The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is looking to expand its footprint in Upper Assam after securing two surprising victories in civic body elections last month.
Following a strong campaign, it ran for 38 of the 60 seats in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections on Friday.
“Our candidates went door-to-door in Guwahati, addressing concerns like drinking water and floods,” said AAP state coordinator Bhaben Choudhury.
Two AAP Candidates won in the Upper Assam Civic poll
Two AAP candidates won in Tinsukia and Dhemaji despite putting in “little effort” in the Upper Assam civic elections. “In Guwahati, we followed a well-planned campaign,” Choudhury explained.
Leaders from the party’s Delhi unit were involved in the Guwahati campaign, according to Choudhury. Atishi, a Delhi MLA and prominent leader, led a roadshow across the city on Wednesday.
Rajesh Sharma, a member of the AAP’s national council and the party’s leader in Assam, said the party ran in the municipal elections to establish itself in the state.
“Assam today has no opposition,” Sharma said, adding that the Congress was in decline and that the new regional parties did not yet have a strong basis.
Moreover, according to him, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party aspires to fill this void.
Despite the fact that the state unit was created in 2012, the AAP national leader said that the party has avoided contesting elections until now due to a lack of grassroots organization.
“Our main goal was to get out to the average person. Following a thorough background check, we chose candidates. We visited each ward in the run-up to the elections,” Sharma continued.
In the Guwahati municipality, there are 60 wards, and the BJP has already won three of them without opposition.
The BJP ran in 50 of the remaining wards, while its ally Asom Gana Parishad ran in seven. The Congress ran in 54 wards, the Assam Jatiya Parishad in 25, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in four.
The overall voting percentage was 52.8 percent, according to a press release from the Assam State Election Commission. On April 24, the votes will be counted.
Analysts believe that while the BJP has a decisive upper hand, courtesy of promises such as round-the-clock piped water and a solution to the city’s annual waterlogging woes, the AAP’s governance track record in Delhi may, in the long run, endear it to some of the middle-class — a section that accounts for a substantial share of the voters in the municipal elections.