After the Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular sweep in Punjab, its Karnataka state convener Prithvi Reddy’s mobile phone has not stopped ringing. On an average, he is getting 30 calls in an hour and an overwhelmed Reddy has not been able to answer all of them because dozens of aspirants are knocking at his door. According to him, some are just congratulatory calls, but there are dozens who want to join AAP and some even want to fight the elections.
Speaking to News18, Reddy said, “The Punjab election results have shaken the core of the Congress in Karnataka. Many Congress leaders have called me up expressing their desire to contest on Aam Aadmi Party ticket in the upcoming BBMP and Assembly elections. Many of them are second-rung leaders with a clean record. Surprisingly, a few BJP leaders from Hyderabad-Karnataka region (now renamed as Kalyana Karnataka region) also met me on Friday evening seeking Assembly tickets.”
Reddy knows that the winners have many friends and he is careful. He says nobody is an untouchable in politics. “For us, Congress or BJP or JDS leaders and workers are not untouchables. There are many honest men and women, who can win. We will certainly consider them, if they are really serious. We will not take communal and corrupt people. That’s it,” he said.
The AAP has been active in Karnataka since 2013 and Reddy is one of the founding members. He is also a member of the national executive and national spokesperson of the AAP. Its founder Arvind Kejriwal is a regular visitor to the southern state.
After voting ended in Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, now the CM-elect, had also visited Bengaluru for naturopathy treatment.
The AAP is making a serious attempt to open its account in the BBMP elections. “The BJP government in Karnataka is scared that Bengalurians will vote against them. That’s why they are not ready to hold BBMP elections. They are using the Supreme Court as an excuse. They can easily get the stay vacated. Actually, the SC wants the elections to be held,” he said.
The AAP wants to contest in all wards in Bengaluru City Corporation. “The global city is ready for a big change. We will provide a platform to a citizen-driven and citizen-centric administration. The BJP and Congress have turned BBMP into a huge mafia with the help of corrupt bureaucrats. If we fight well, both will be defeated,” Reddy hopes.
AAP had contested in the 2018 Assembly elections in Karnataka. It had lost deposit in all 28 seats it had contested. It has opened its account in the recently held civic bodies elections by winning just one ward in the entire state.
AAP has decided not to give tickets to those who run educational institutions and hospitals for profit. It has also taken a stand against fielding real estate people and contractors. “People of Karnataka blame these four category of people for the corruption. We can’t entertain the same people,” he said.
With a Hindi name, can AAP strike a chord with the Kannadigas? According to Reddy, AAP Karnataka is a pure pro-Kannada and Kannadiga party.
“We are a Kannada party. Many pro-Kannada organisations are with us. Our first priority is to primacy of Kannada and Kannadigas in Karnataka. We firmly believe that India is a Union of States and the government in New Delhi should stop imposing uniformity on all. It is against the foundation of our nation and can lead to disastrous consequences. AAP will uphold diversity of India. Karnataka will be ruled from Karnataka. Arvind Kejriwal will not rule it,” Reddy explains.
With inputs from News18