Amidst continuing tussle between the Delhi government and the Centre over administrative powers, the ruling party in the national capital has reportedly decided to resort to significant ‘course correction’ in its strategy.
As part of the new strategy, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will no longer actively engage himself in the regular battles with the Centre. Instead, the AAP convener will now be expected to spend more time on expanding the party elsewhere in the country.
This appears to explain why Kejriwal authorised his deputy Manish Sisodia to attack the central government when his principal secretary Rajendra Kumar was recently arrested in the alleged Rs 50 crore scam.
It was Sisodia, who was holding media briefings and launching social media tirade against the Centre’s Modi government and not the AAP convener as has been the case in the past. Kejriwal was conspicuously absent from the media glare.
This came as a surprise to many, who had seen the Delhi chief minister go jugular against Prime Minister Narendra Modi last December with his sensational psychopath and coward jibes.
Kejriwal had launched a full-blown war of sorts against the central government in the wake of the CBI raids in his office in December last year. He had even gone on to drag the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, in the alleged corruption cases of Delhi District Cricket Association.
However, unlike in December, Kejriwal did not speak either on Kumar’s arrest or the mass transfers of his officers from the Delhi government by the Ministry of Home Affairs this time around.
In fact, on Thursday, when the Delhi government placed massive ad campaign in newspapers against the Centre’s decision to transfer dozens of its officers, Kejriwal’s photo was missing for the first time. Instead, the ad had Sisodia’s image plastered everywhere.
Party sources said that the confrontation in the past had forcibly confined Kejriwal to Delhi and the work on AAP’s expansion outside the national capital was severely undermined.
The party has already made its intention clear to fight elections in Punjab and Goa and intends to do the same in Gujarat when these states go for elections next year.
“Neta ji needs to be freed from the daily battles of Delhi politics for AAP to build its organisation in these states. The other advantage with Manish we have is that he appears to enjoy a good rapport with the rival parties, ” said the source.
However, AAP leaders deny Kejriwal will effectively abandon Delhi to project himself as Punjab’s chief ministerial candidate.
An AAP leader, wishing not to be identified, said, “Arvind has already visited Goa for three days and made few visits to Punjab. He will be in the BJP’s bastion Gujarat on 9 July build on the resentments against the Anandiben Patel’s government. Arvind has taken it upon himself to build the organisation outside Delhi particularly in the poll-bound states such as Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, where we have realistic chance of forming governments.”
Starting August, Kejriwal is likely to visit the three states more frequently with the responsibility to govern Delhi being given to Sisodia. He will, however, continue to be part of big policy decisions and lead the party and the government during assembly sessions.