AAP's tryst with farmers in K'taka gets major parties worried

Bengaluru, April 24 (IANS) The mood in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is upbeat in Karnataka after its initiative to engage with the farmers enabled it to reach out to every village in the state. The major parties in the state -- BJP, Congress and regional party JD(S) -- are worried over the development and political moves of the emerging party.
 
AAP's tryst with farmers in K'taka gets major parties worried

<br>The AAP is now all set to expand its base further. After the pact with Karnataka Farmers Association headed by Kodihalli Chandrashekar, the party leaders are forging alliances with other farming organisations to consolidate the base further in the state. The AAP is going to give the call for farmers to become lawmakers and make suitable laws to address their age-old grievances.

The AAP's announcement on free education, healthcare, power, water, free transport for women is expected to consolidate its base in urban and as well as rural Karnataka. Sources in the AAP say the reach out to farmers is going to work magic for the party.

AAP National Convener and New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was overwhelmed with the first massive convention with a 30,000 strong crowd attending the convention in Karnataka. The response he got when he urged the crowd to bring AAP to power, has made everyone turn around in political corridors.

Leaders of the major political parties reveal that AAP has arrived in the political scenario as a serious player in the state. After the pact with the Karnataka Farmers Association, which has lakhs of volunteers across Karnataka, AAP has matched the network of major political parties, making the competition tougher for the upcoming Assembly elections of 2023.

Talking to IANS, Kodihalli Chandrashekar, President of Karnataka Farmers Association explained that the AAP is going to win a majority of seats in the upcoming Assembly elections. "The farmer community is facing the challenge of life and livelihood in Karnataka. They will overcome the hurdles of politics of caste and religion, which has played a major role so far in the state," he said.

"The farmers are taken for granted. To give an example, Ragi crop is being purchased for Rs 1,600, whereas the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed is Rs 3,370. This is a huge difference. Things like this have to be communicated to every voter. They won't bother much about Rs 1,000 that is going to be dangled by the national parties during elections for their vote," he explains.

The assurance to farmers will be worked out with the statistics regarding their produce, including vegetables and various crops. "The farmers will overthrow national and regional parties who have used them as vote banks all these days," he said.

Explaining about the network of the association, Kodihalli Chandrashekar said the association has a well-organised committee in every hobli and taluk levels of the state. There are more than 10,000 village committees across the state. Through the association, AAP has reached every booth in the state.

He further stated that the 30,000 strong crowd which gathered for the convention in Bengaluru, attended voluntarily. They were not given any money. The crowd poured in by public transport, no transport arrangements were made like the national parties. "We have not arranged for 'biryani'. This is the momentum which will go down the history of the country, mark my words," he stated.

"On the sidelines of the convention, I spoke personally with Arvind Kejriwal and explained that we need to keep the assurance for the farmers which is crucial. He assured to emulate the Punjab model where seeds and fertilizers are given by the government and minimum support price (MSP) for produce is also given to them, which will make farmer's life at ease," he said.

When asked if the delivery of these assurances are practical, he said that these things could be done in a very simple way, he said.

Darshan Jain, State Joint Secretary of AAP told IANS that there is a huge anti-incumbency factor against the BJP in the state. They are going to be whitewashed. The regional party JD(S), which is powered by farmers, does not have a clear political stand. The AAP has started preparations for the upcoming Assembly elections. The presence of AAP is strong in Bengaluru as well as in Hyderabad-Karnataka region. The party is contesting in all 224 Assembly seats, he explains.

Jagadish V. Sadam, the State Media Convener of AAP in Karnataka said the party, which has been branded as urban centric, has reached every doorstep now. The party is going to call upon farmers to become lawmakers. That is what happened in Punjab. They can address their grievances better than anyone, he says.

--IANS <br>mka/dpb