Virtually kicking off the party’s campaign for the year-end Himachal Pradesh assembly polls from BJP chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s home turf, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann held an impressive roadshow in Mandi town on Wednesday, announcing the party’s arrival in the political arena of the hill state.
“We do not know how to do politics but we certainly know how to open schools and wipe out corruption,” said Kejriwal in his trademark style. He said AAP has undertaken development in Delhi and will do the same now in Punjab.
“You have given 30 years to Congress and 17 years to BJP to rule the state. All they did was loot Himachal. Just give me five years. If you are not satisfied, you can change us,” he urged the cheering crowd while addressing them from an open jeep.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress of promoting dynastic politics, he said AAP is a party of the common man with development being the sole objective.
“Ki haal hain Mandi waleyon (How are you, Mandi people)? I have performed several times here during Shivratri festival,” said Bhagwant Mann to the gathering. Slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai”, “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Jo Bole So Nihaal” rent the air. With the crowd cheering on, Mann remarked, “It feels like I am in Sangrur.”
Kejriwal said he will bring the same development in Himachal and Punjab as in Delhi.
The roadshow with the song ‘Mera Rang de Basanti Chola’ took place from Victoria Bridge to Seri Manch, where a public meeting was held. The rally termed as ‘Tiranga Yatra’, marked the entry of AAP in the state’s political spectrum with supporters waving the tricolour.
Even though no big face from the BJP or Congress joined AAP on the occasion, the gathering on the home turf of Jai Ram Thakur was impressive. Political observers said that the roadshow had given the party the kind of momentum it was expecting to at least make a mark in the poll-bound state.
AAP has already made its intentions clear of contesting the polls in Himachal due later this year by fielding candidates from all the 68 assembly segments.