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AAP troubles mount in Gujarat as tribal MLA, seen as LS material, now in govt cross-hairs

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AAP troubles mount in Gujarat as tribal MLA, seen as LS material, now in govt cross-hairs
AAP troubles mount in Gujarat as tribal MLA, seen as LS material, now in govt cross-hairs

The leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat, Isudan Gadhvi, has announced his intention to resume his media career. The state chapter’s active president, Chaitar Vasava, was detained after he allegedly brandished a pistol at forest authorities. He has just posted bail. The AAP has fifteen vice presidents, four currently serving in the U.S. Congress.

Almost a year after their high-decibel campaign for the Gujarat Assembly election ended in only five seats, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is down in the dumps in Gujarat as the Lok Sabha elections approach.

A Dediapada MLA and the organization’s de facto head, Chaitar Vasava, had an FIR filed against him a week after he led an eight-day padayatra throughout tribal areas replicating Mahatma Gandhi’s Dandi Yatra from Dandi to Sabarmati. A rally is planned to oppose the state government’s Gyan Sahayak Yojana, which has come under scrutiny.

When Chaitar defeated Chhotu Vasava in Dediapada, he said he would run for the Lok Sabha seat in Bharuch. Dediapada is located in the Bharuch district, and for the last seven years, tribal leader and BJP member Mansukh Vasava has retained his general category seat there.

According to the AAP’s Gujarat leadership, Chaitar was targeted with the FIR to dissuade him from standing in the next Lok Sabha elections. Concerns have been raised inside the party that the BJP seeks to “steal” him. Mansukh’s insistence that those in his party conspire to enlist Chaitar further added to these worries.

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As the Congress puts it, the FIR is the BJP’s effort to “make Chaitar relent.” This information may create anxiety since Mumtaz Patel, daughter of Congress leader and Bharuch MP Ahmed Patel, is a formidable contender inside the party for a seat in Bharuch. She’s been taking turns in the chair for a while.

Gujarati Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “It has been the BJP’s long-standing tactic first to approach, lure, promise election tickets and posts, and when the person does not relent, to book him in police cases and pressure them.” Several notable Congress members have switched to the BJP due to legal issues. Therefore, Chaitar’s case is not unique.

Gadhvi’s announcement in August that the AAP will be forming an alliance with the Congress for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections set in motion a series of events that has unsettled state sections of both parties and left the INDIA coalition stumbling.

When asked about it by The Indian Express, Gadhvi was more evasive, saying that the party’s top brass would ultimately decide.

When asked about the status of the Congress-AAP deal, Gujarat Congress chief Shaktisinh Gohil remarked, “It is neither Isudan (Gadhvi) nor myself who would decide on the pre-poll alliance.” The INDIA policy bloc mandates that this decision be taken nationally. 

When Arjun Rathwa announced his retirement from the AAP, he called it a “non-serious, disorganized political outfit that had sidelined the opinions of its senior leaders.”

It has been privately acknowledged by certain members of the AAP, with one saying something to the effect of, “Many old hands who built the party, who were part of the India Against Corruption movement of Arvind Kejriwal…identified with the idea of a common man coming to power.” However, the AAP is now precisely like any other political party… All we have access to are the five elected MLAs for now. Gujarat officials often ignore the rest of the organization to visit New Delhi and meet with Kejriwal.

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