The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is gearing up to make its mark in the Lok Sabha elections next year. The party in power in Delhi that won 67 out of 70 seats has taken the “chai pe charcha” route to reach out to voters in the national capital.
‘Chai pe charcha’ gained prominence in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls with Narendra Modi as Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) prime ministerial candidate adopting it to communicate with voters across the country. AAP failed to win any seat in Delhi although it won four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in the 2014 polls.
The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, however, said it did not borrow the concept from the saffron party. Dilip Pandey, AAP’s in-charge of North East Delhi constituency said,
“We have been holding ‘chai pe charcha’ since the winters of 2012 to reach out to the ‘aam aadmi’ (common man)”.
The party has already announced the in-charges of five of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. Pandey said the party has organised 300 ‘chai pe charcha’ meetings in his constituency so far. Another party leader said such meetings have been planned in the remaining parliamentary seats as well.
Contrary to Modi’s ‘chai pe charcha’ meeting in Ahmedabad in February 2014 which was beamed across the country through video conferencing and television channels, AAP’s meetings are “more close” and “direct affairs” where local issues and political discussions take centre stage, party sources said.
The BJP won seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi in the last elections and AAP won the Assembly polls in 2015. You can see the difference between the works of the two parties now, Pandey said.
“Our message in these (chai pe charcha) meetings is clear that if we have the MPs, the party can serve people more effectively. Our government is trying hard to work for the people in Delhi and if we have representation in Lok Sabha, we will do so with double motivation,” he said.
The AAP leader said the party activists and volunteers also tell people how Congress was playing “spoilsport” in a direct contest between AAP and BJP.
“Congress has been reduced to a political player which can only cut into our votes and thus benefit the BJP,” Pandey claimed.
The report has been edited from ET