Gearing up for the year-end assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not see Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a force to reckon with in the hill state.
The saffron party feels that the AAP has no ground presence, and it will not generate any impact on the assembly elections.
“It is true that the AAP has formed a government in Punjab but state of Himachal Pradesh has witnessed a people and development oriented governance of the BJP. We have no challenge from anyone, forget about the AAP. Kejriwal’s party has no presence in Himachal,” a BJP functionary said.
Echoing this, another BJP leader claimed “AAP is not even in the race”.
“There is no challenge from the AAP. Someone with a strong presence can challenge which the AAP is completely lacking. After its success in Punjab, they (AAP leaders) are planning to contest assembly polls in Himachal and few other states but in reality, AAP is a non-entity here,” another BJP leader said.
The AAP has planned to contest the year-end Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh assembly polls.
The party is also planning to contest the Karnataka assembly election scheduled to be held in the middle of the next year.
Taking a dig at the AAP’s plan to contest the Himachal Pradesh assembly polls, a BJP leader said: “Arvind Kejriwal and his party on election tourism… first, they went to Goa and now planning to visit another tourist destination Himachal Pradesh.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann — both from the AAP, on Wednesday had launched the party’s campaign in Himachal Pradesh by organising a ‘Tiranga Yatra’ in Mandi.
On April 9, BJP chief JP Nadda is expected to be in Himachal Pradesh. He is likely to hold a roadshow in Shimla.
BJP’s Sanjay Tandon, co-incharge of Himachal Pradesh, told IANS the BJP is seeking votes on the development agenda of a double engine government at the Centre and the state.
“Himachal Pradesh has witnessed tremendous development under the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Central government. The pace of development in the state has been accelerated due to the double engine government of BJP in the last five years. People will bless the BJP to continue the pace of development in assembly polls,” Tandon said.