Dejected and drained out over the diminished response it received in recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, Aam Aadmi Party is slowly and steadily making its move to gains its lost ground. Keeping an eye on upcoming Maharashtra assembly polls, AAP has decided to field its candidates from atleast two assembly constituencies in Nagpur.
The decision to this effect was taken at a recently held meeting of the party’s Maharashtra State Executive Committee headed by Anjali Damania.
Devendra Wankhede, Convenor of Nagpur wing of AAP, had confided to this correspondent that his party and his organization of party workers and volunteers were keen and willing to contest all six seats claiming that they received good response from all walks of society in the just held Lok Sabha elections.
“Even if this support did not translate into a victory for us, there were many factors responsible for it. We were new and inexperienced and there was a ground swell of support for Modiji. But what was heartening for our party was that we got 9000 to 14,000 votes from every Vidhan Sabha constituency. People voted for us even in areas where our organization structure was weak and we had not done much canvassing,” Wankhede opined.
But the final decision on this issue was taken by the executive that met in Mumbai recently over a spate of meetings that lasted for three days. It is learnt that a decision was taken that in all the Lok Sabha constituencies where AAP candidates had polled 20,000 to 50,000 votes one candidate for MLA would be put up and where votes polled had been above 50,000 two candidates would be put up.
Though the actual constituencies where candidates will be fielded have not been declared yet, it is most likely that South West and West will be represented since they got the most sizeable chunk of votes.
Volunteers of AAP are preparing to fight over two local issues which require urgent attention.
He said there is a huge parking problem for two wheelers and four wheelers all over the city, especially in the railway station compound. There are many commuters who do daily travel between Nagpur and other towns like Wardha, Amraoti, Katol etc. who do not get seasonal passes to park their vehicles near the Railway station and face daily harassment from Railway officials and traffic police.
Wankhede also stated that though a lot of noise is being made about bringing ‘metros’ and sky trains to Nagpur, these are mega projects consuming a lot of time and huge investments. (Where scope of corruption too goes up). Instead what Nagpurians and Vidarbhites in general require are more local trains plying between the various cities of Vidarbha like Nagpur, Akola, Amraoti, Wardha etc.
Concurring with this opinion, Mr. Nitish Darvekar a self employed Engineer who runs a business of supplying sophisiticated laproscopic machines to various hospitals of the area shares his experience of the trouble he faces whenever he has to go to Akola for work.
“Buses take 6 hours and are timed erratically; trains take half the time but unfortunately there are no evening trains available to return from Akola to Nagpur after my work for the day is over. I have to wait till midnight for trains and these being long distance trains coming from Mumbai, we cannot board reserved compartments at that hour and general compartments get very crowded. This makes travelling within Vidarbha a big headache for professionals like me”.
Where it comes to facilities and amenities, even logistics, people of Vidarbha get a raw deal but where it comes to shelling money for necessities, we are taxed the maximum. Petrol costs Rs, 5 more per litre in Nagpur than Mumbai because of steep local taxes. In fact, petrol prices are the HIGHEST IN NAGPUR compared to the whole country! Why this injustice? Asks Mr. Devendra Wankhede.
A third issue that AAP will definitely take up is OCW – Orange City Waterworks. “All water sources would be handed over to foreign companies with very little local stake – that too going to relatives of politicians – and water will become a very lucrative business for some while the general public will suffer” say AAP members. “We shall not allow this to happen”. According to them, for years both BJP and Congress have colluded in giving Nagpurians raw deals through local bodies like NMC. “They need to be exposed and opposed.”
AAP is gearing up for the fight ahead by enlisting volunteers from every area ( Mohalla) of Nagpur. Through their Mission VISTAR they are specially targetting students and women volunteers who generally shy away from active politics.
Strength of Nagpur AAP members has already climbed to over one lakh, many joining after the elections.
We are very positive about Nagpur, sums up Mr. Wankhede.
– Sunita Mudaliar