Major jolt to I.N.D.I.A. bloc, AAP to contest Bihar assembly polls

Major jolt to I.N.D.I.A. bloc, AAP to contest Bihar assembly polls

In a major blow to the I.N.D.I.A. bloc, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday (26 August) announced that it would be contesting the next Assembly elections in Bihar which will take place in 2025. Reportedly, AAP general secretary Sandeep Pathak held a meeting with leaders and workers of the party’s Bihar Unit in the national capital regarding the same. 

During the meeting, Sandeep Pathak emphasised that there is a need to strengthen the party in Bihar and build a strong organisational structure in the state. Apart from him, AAP MLA from Delhi and Bihar in-charge Ajesh Yadav also attended the meeting. 

Pathak said, “It is the misfortune of Bihar that, due to dirty politics, the state has not been able to move forward where it should have been. The AAP will contest elections in Bihar. But, to contest elections, it is necessary to have a strong organisation.” 

He stressed that AAP will fight polls in Bihar with full might as it did in Gujarat. Elaborating on his plans, he added that the party will enter the state through local body polls first.

Highlighting the fact that opinions may differ, the party’s general secretary further stated that AAP is a national party and will contest Lok Sabha polls and the decision on alliances will come later.

Reacting to the development, the BJP took a jibe at the opposition alliance. BJP leader and former Union minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain asserted that AAP can contest Lok Sabha polls in Bihar and BJP doesn’t have any problem with that. He claimed that BJP will win all 40 Lok Sabha seats. He, however, added that AAP contesting elections in Bihar will be problematic for those who invited them to Bihar.

Responding to Sandeep Pathak’s announcement, RJD MP Manoj Jha reminded AAP that there are certain principles of an alliance, colloquially known as alliance Dharma in political parlance, which AAP should adhere to in order to be an alliance partner. 

RJD leader Manoj Jha said, “When the foundation of the INDIA alliance was being laid down some principles were formed. There was a detailed talk held about these principles. Keeping aside this statement, I think they(AAP) will adhere to those principles.”

This move could further escalate the tensions within the opposition alliance which is finding it hard to even forge a consensus on minor issues. 

Earlier in the day, the Leader of the Opposition in Punjab and Congress leader Pratap Singh Bajwa advised the party’s high command to not forge an alliance with AAP in the state claiming that “Reluctant marriage harms both families”. 

Prior to that several Congress leaders including Sandeep Dikshit have been making snide remarks against their so-called alliance partner – AAP. On its part, AAP senior leaders including Delhi and Punjab Chief Ministers have been touring Congress-ruled poll-bound states to campaign against the Congress party accusing them of indulging in rampant corruption. 

Apart from denting Congress’ election pitch ahead of the assembly polls, AAP had earlier announced that it would contest assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, adding worries to the grand old party, Congress. 

As both Congress and AAP are constantly engaging in heated exchanges lock, stock, and barrels, there are wide speculations that the ideologically amorphous I.N.D.I. alliance could precipitate even before the 2024 Lok Sabha election begins, if the infighting escalates any further. 

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