AAP may contest in selected seats in Gujarat
With the AAP divided on whether to contest polls in Gujarat, the party leadership could choose a middle path and put up candidates in seats where it has good chance of winning.
A section of state leaders is opposed to the party contesting the polls, while some feel that it should contest on all seats.
A third section is of opinion that it should focus on selected few seats and put all its resources to ensure victory.
A constituency-wise report, by seeking inputs from party functionaries from the state, has been submitted to AAP's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal.
Party's Gujarat in-charge Gopal Rai held a two-day meeting with leaders of the state, where several aspects including political situation, prospects of the Congress, the principal opposition, issues related to farmers were discussed.
The recent Patidar and Dalit agitation and its impact on the state polls were discussed with greater detail.
Last week, the National Executive, the party's second highest decision making body, decided to intensify its protests in states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over the farmers issue.
Gujarat goes to poll this year end while elections will be held in Madhya Pradesh by 2018-end.
"No decision has been taken on Gujarat yet. At present there are several opinions, ranging from contesting all seats, to not entering the fray at all, to fighting on a selected seats," said an AAP leader.
The Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the party's apex decision making body of the AAP, will soon meet and debate on all these aspects and take a final call.
It is also unlikely that the party will not contest the polls.
After the party's victory in Delhi Assembly polls in 2015, the cadre's morale got a boost and several state leaders from the BJP and the Congress have joined the party. For instance, Kanu Kalasaria from the BJP joined the AAP in 2014.
Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar agitation, and feisty Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, are believed to be in touch with the AAP.
For the last two years, Kejriwal has visited the state several times, launching vitriolic attacks on the BJP government over the Patidar unrest and alleged atrocities of Dalits in the state.
To strengthen the organisation, the party, over the last one year, has also deployed its Matiala MLA Gulab Singh to the state.
However, the morale of the party workers remains low due to AAP's poor performance in Punjab and Goa and its humiliating defeat in MCD polls on its home turf Delhi.
Following its lacklustre results in Punjab and Goa, Kejriwal had also skipped an important volunteers meet.
Shortage of funds is also a major concern for the party and contesting a big state like Gujarat would also mean a larger monetary resources.
"We have built our organisation in the state over the last two years and we are stronger at several places. It would send a wrong message if we completely abandon the plan to contest elections.
"More importantly, the conditions are conducive for us to contest polls as there is a space for an alternative to BJP in the state. The middle path would be to contest on seats where we have strength. However, a decision on this will be taken by the PAC by assessing all the aspects," the AAP leader said.