Kejriwal has also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday at the Ramlila Maidan.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal meets veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar at his residence in New Delhi. AAP leader Sanjay Singh is also seen. (Photo: PTI)
New Delhi: After its landslide victory in the Delhi Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party has decided to contest elections to local bodies across the country as part of an ambitious plan to expand its footprint beyond the national capital.
Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said the party has called a meeting of its national executive on Sunday to deliberate on expanding the party by projecting its “positive nationalism”. The meeting, to be held after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and his Cabinet takes the oath in the morning, will decide the future course of action for the party.
Mr Kejriwal has also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi to his swearing-in ceremony on Sunday at the Ramlila Maidan, where the former will take the oath as Delhi chief minister for the third time. It is, however, not clear whether the Prime Minister will attend the swearing-in ceremony as he is due to travel to Varanasi, his parliamentary constituency, on Sunday to inaugurate over 30 projects.
After the oath-taking ceremony, the AAP is set to launch a massive campaign to increase its volunteer base across the country. Mr Rai, a minister in the outgoing Kejriwal government, said people will be able to join the AAP’s “nation building campaign” by giving a missed call on the phone number 9871010101.
Mr Rai said: “We will fight local body elections in other states also. We will be focusing on a few states as well. The decision on the same will be taken on February 16. In future, we will also focus on the Lok Sabha elections.”
Asked whether Mr Kejriwal could become the face of the Opposition in the next Lok Sabha elections, Mr Rai said that the AAP supremo had already become the face of positive nationalism and people across the country relate to this kind of nationalism. He said: “Kejriwalji is not a face of the Opposition. He is the face of the politics of work. He also attracts BJP supporters. The Delhi polls were a fight between negative nationalism and positive nationalism. The BJP is standing with negative nationalism and the AAP is with positive nationalism.”
Terming the BJP’s nationalism “negative”, Mr Rai said the AAP will expand its base by highlighting “positive nationalism”. He said: “In Delhi, we spread positive nationalism, which is based on love and respect. The BJP’s nationalism is based on hatred and divisive politics… The experiment done by the AAP in Delhi has become a role model for the entire country. Our positive nationalism gives a guarantee of good education, healthcare and livelihood to every section of society, including farmers.”
On the BJP’s attack on Mr Kejriwal for reciting the Hanuman Chalisa on a TV channel in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly polls, Mr Rai said for the saffron party, religion is a “political weapon”, but for the people of the country, religion is a belief. “The BJP does not respect the people of India … and it sees every person as its votebank,” he added.