Making a serious bid in Goa assembly polls, Aam Aadmi Party claims there is a "strong under current" in its favour even if voters are hesitant to come out openly in its support.
"In South Goa, people are very vocal about issues affecting them. In North Goa, people are not so vocal because of the highhanded tactics of the BJP and others. But we do have their support," claimed Shraddha Khalap, AAP nominee in Mapusa seat.
She said volunteers are campaigning for the party by making calls and through social media. "Our realistic assessment is that AAP will get 33 seats. Our desire is to sweep all seats as we did in Delhi, but our assessment is we will win 33 seats in the 40-member Assembly," Khalap, a restaurateur and daughter-in-law of former Union minister Ramakant Khalap, told PTI.
Asked if it wasn't an unrealistic assessment, given that her party did not seem to enjoy much support in North Goa, Khalap said, "We enjoy support in North Goa also". "The kind of support voters in Goa are giving us is in an undercurrent form. They are helping us by making calls and are supporting us on social media," Khalap said.
The differentiator between AAP candidates and those of other parties is the "4-C" test, she said, adding "we scrutinise if the person is corrupt, his character, if he is criminal or communal." "In the last elections, it was an anti-Congress wave. This time around, it is an anti-BJP wave.
Nobody wants saffron anywhere now. The rally Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed in Goa on Saturday won't help BJP," she claimed. "This is because people are now against that party and won't be swayed by any last-minute developments," she said.
Khalap said she had met many BJP supporters who run businesses and have been affected by the party leadership's decisions. "They don't want so much dictatorship. Now these people are getting attracted towards AAP ideology, which is a people's government," she said.
The AAP candidate also claimed that "factionalism" in BJP will work against the ruling party. "The factionalism within BJP in Goa will help us. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who wants to return as Goa CM, will help Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar's opponents in the latter's Assembly constituency and see to it that there is no challenger to him," Khalap said.
"In fact, BJP leaders in Delhi know that Parsekar is not going to be re-elected. That's why, they have decided to give a message to their voters in Goa that Parrikar will be in charge after the polls," she said. Mapusa is the commercial capital of North Goa, with 28,807 voters and saw BJP winning the last three polls.