Volunteers of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in California’s San Francisco Bay Area hosted a watch-party, replete with supporters in AAP T-shirts and rejoicing in the sweeping victory in the Punjab assembly elections.
Founded in November 2012, AAP – and founder Arvind Kejriwal, an IIT alumnus – has seen sizeable support from a number of US-based, young software engineers.
Decade-long AAP supporter Prabhat Sharma, based in Silicon Valley, was visibly excited watching the poll counting results live. “AAP is replicating Delhi in Punjab!” he told Indica.
Sharma said he never had a doubt that AAP would win in Punjab. “There are a few reasons why AAP has worked and the ‘Kejriwal Model’ has been setting an example,” he said, “In Punjab, people have given many chances to the Akali Dal and the Congress. This time, the electorate has realized, and of course, seen, the work of AAP in Delhi. They have seen Kejriwal deliver the work he had promised.” Sharma said he was hopeful that AAP’s Chief Ministerial candidate Bhagwant Mann would live up to the job at hand.
Dr. Iqvinder Gill told Indica that the “credit” for AAP’s sweeping success in Punjab goes to the state’s people, who took a chance on AAP, based on the Delhi government’s achievements.
The veterinarian, a long-time AAP supporter, pointed out that Punjab has “many issues”, including the drug abuse “epidemic”. “Drug addiction requires help from many sources. But I have no doubt that the AAP will try to stop this million-dollar illegal business,” Gill said.
Gill said that AAP volunteers worked harder in the 2017 elections, but this year, they changed strategy and used resources differently. “Calling relatives and friends, forming AAP groups for our constituencies, motivating friends in India to volunteer time and money for the AAP was necessary to bring about a change in the system,” Gill said.
Till publication, AAP had crossed the majority mark of 92 seats in the Punjab assembly, as per Election commission reports.
AAP winning Punjab is the party’s maiden victory in the state and marks a vast improvement from its performance in the 2017 elections when it had finished second behind the Congress.
In January 2022, Kejriwal announced his ‘Punjab Model’, which includes providing free power to people up to 300 units per billing cycle. Generating more avenues for employment, improving the condition of government schools and hospitals in the state are also on the AAP supremo’s agenda.
As a priority, Kejriwal has said that AAP will work on curbing the drug menace and drug mafia in Punjab.
Maya Vishwakarma another long-time AAP supporter sharing her thoughts was excited and proud that AAP has earned a status of a national party.
When asked who takes the credit for AAP’s rise to such a status said, “People of Punjab and the volunteers.”
She added on said they have been working day and night, especially in this election. It was very strategically planned this time. Arvind Kejriwal has taken all the actions he learned from the last election where he made a few mistakes.
“Now AAP is going to be a National Party, which will definitely change the fate of Indian people, and I think people now have other options, other than BJP, Congress, or other political parties…the Aam Aadmi Party is in the game,” Vishwakarma cited.
Santosh Addagulla, another long-time AAP supporter called Kejriwal’s Punjab victory is because “people want change.”