AAP does worry us, says BJP

Agra, April 6: They don't have the potential to win in this region. But BJP strategists are worried over the damage the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can cause to BJP candidates in the Lok Sabha contest.

The AAP has fielded candidates from Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Firozabad, Mathura, Aligarh and Mainpuri in this part of Uttar Pradesh. Some of them are respected but none seems to have the strength to win.

Yet, the Bharatiya Janata Party is worried.

A BJP strategist here told IANS that AAP candidates were "the biggest threat" to his party.

Said a known Hindutva leader, Premendra Jain: "The AAP's appeal among first-time voters, the young and the urban elite is a matter of concern for (Narendra) Modi campaigners.

"If the AAP candidates manage to make a dent, get even a few thousand votes, there can be serious trouble ahead for the BJP," he added.

For instance, BJP's outgoing MP from Agra city, Ram Shankar Katheria, won by just 9,000 votes in 2009.

"This is not a decisive margin," Jain said. "The AAP can easily manage to get 15-20,000 votes and create problems for the BJP."

In Mainpuri, the AAP candidate, Hardev Singh, has a formidable reputation as an upright former government officer.

He may not win against Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav but can definitely queer the pitch for BJP candidates in and around Mainpuri, political observers say.

Said a former socialist leader, Vinay Paliwal: "The meetings of AAP candidates are drawing curious crowds, some of them passionately committed to (AAP leader) Arvind Kejriwal's style of politics."

An Agra resident, however, said that while there was definitely support for the AAP, he was not sure if people attending its meetings would vote for it.

The AAP candidate in Agra is Ravindra Singh, Sabir Rahi in Aligarh, Anuj Garg in Mathura, Baba Hardev Singh in Mainpuri, Rakesh Yadav in Firozabad and Laxmi Choudhary in Fatehpur Sikri.


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