AAP jumps into poll fray in Karnataka, releases first list of 18 candidates

“Bengaluru has the best ecosystem for alternative and honest politics," says AAP's Prithvi Reddy.
AAP jumps into poll fray in Karnataka, releases first list of 18 candidates
AAP jumps into poll fray in Karnataka, releases first list of 18 candidates
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With polls in Karnataka just months away, the Aam Aadmi Party has become the second party after the JD(S) to announce its first list of 18 candidates for the upcoming elections.

AAP’s state convener Prithvi Reddy, who is contesting from Sarvagnanagar,  Bengaluru Development Minister KJ George’s constituency, feels the performance by the Arvind Kejriwal government in Delhi especially in health and education sectors will convince voters to elect them.

“Bengaluru has the best ecosystem for alternative and honest politics in the country and all these years, they did not have an option. They always had to choose a lesser evil,” he told TNM, speaking of his primary opponents - the BJP and the Congress.

“The closest was the Loksatta, which had very good candidates but at the time the idea was very nascent. It was more of a concept. Now with the Delhi government in power, people have a 'proof of concept',” he adds.

Pointing to the hypocrisies of the two national parties, Prithvi says, “The other day to protest against Nalapad (Congress MLA’s son), the BJP sent Janardhana Reddy who ran the ‘Republic of Ballari’. People are watching these things.” 

Despite its earlier promise, the first list of AAP's candidates does not include a single person from the transgender community. Reddy’s explains that there was a lack of volunteers from the community.

"Ideally, we wanted to field people from the community as we feel they are very much part of our society. But there are a lack of willing candidates. A prominent person from the community who had initially agreed to contest backed out. The reason was her recent involvement in government projects for the community. She did not want to risk the ongoing projects by contesting in the elections this time," Prithvi said. 

The first list features only two women. Prithvi said, “We have a mix of engineers, bureaucrats, activists and entrepreneurs. We have lecturers, advocates, union leaders and activists.”

He said all these candidates are trying to familiarise themselves with voters by campaigning door to door and putting up banners in their localities.

"We are ensuring that every household gets two set of documents, in which we tell what the AAP government in Delhi has achieved. The second has a detailed profile of our candidates. Once the election manifesto is released, this will also be given to voters," he said.

The AAP leader also claimed that the recent apology spree by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal would not affect its chances in the Karnataka election. He dismissed the idea saying it was only the media which was hyping the issue up, whereas for the people the work they had done in Delhi matters more.

"We don't have the money and time to fight everything in the courts. And if we had, we would spend it for better purposes," he claimed

He also denies the lack of a prominent face will hurt its prospects in the polls.

“You must notice, no party fields a strong candidates against the heavyweights. We will field our candidates against the big names like Ramalinga Reddy, Dinesh Gundu Rao, BS Yeddyurappa and Jagadish Shettar. Some people say we lack experience. We are happy that we don't have the experience of crime, corruption and communalism,” he alleged.

When asked about his chances against the Bengaluru Development Minister, Prithvi said, “KJ George had 15% of the popular vote in 2008, and 20% in 2013. This time with the AAP there will be a three-way fight. And many people do not vote because they felt there is no hope but we are going to be the alternative.”

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