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AAP ups the Punjab game, launches women-centric campaign against drugs

Rajeev Khanna | Updated on: 25 June 2016, 2:54 IST
QUICK PILL
Effective strategy
  • This is the first time any party is using a women-centric campaign in a state approaching Assembly polls
  • The campaigns are spread across all of 117 constituencies in Punjab
What does the campaign cover?
  • The campaign is not only about drugs, it covers unemployment and inflation as well
  • Some women have even put in requests of shutting down liquor shops
More in the story
  • AAP has plans to take the antri-drug campaign overseas to a host of other countries including US, UK, Europe etc
  • They even plan to take it online with #KickNasha

With the controversy over Udta Punjab having brought the issue of drugs to the centrestage of Punjab's political landscape once again, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has started reaching out to the people through its time tested technique of launching hyper local campaigns.

This time the party is approaching voters through a women-centric signature drive. This is the first women-centric movement launched by any party for the approaching state assembly polls till now.

The activists of the women's wing of the party plan to reach out to voters across all 117 constituencies through women members of every household. The campaign is centered around the three issues of drug menace, unemployment and inflation.

Also Read: Campaign season: how AAP is trying to win over Punjab's voters

"Our strategy is simple. We are approaching women from houses with a pamphlet that carries a true story of a woman who has faced tough times on account of these three problems. Along with the pamphlet we are asking the women to fill out a performa giving out details about themselves along with their contact number. This will help create a data base that we may use as the campaign picks up later on a large scale," said an AAP functionary.

The party is also carrying out a poster campaign in villages. They are putting up posters appealing to womenfolk to raise their voices against drug-abuse, unemployment and price rise, as these are issues that adversely affect women the most.

Why women

The head of the party's women wing Professor Baljinder Kaur told Catch, "The women are most affected by these issues. It is an irony that although women find prominent place in religious scriptures and discourses, they are not included in decision making processes. Our campaign is also a move to empower the women."

She revealed that posters being put up are based on the documentary Chitta Sach which highlighted these issues. These posters are being distributed among women of all the 117 assembly segments.

Also Read: AAP on a roll in Punjab but don't write off Congress and Akalis

"It is unfortunate that previous, as well as the current, regimes never bothered about the concerns of women. The response to our drive has been overwhelming. Women have been approaching us with the plea that if the government can provide them relief from drug and alcohol addiction, they can face all other adversities. We have a squad of 20 women for every constituency. This squad moves from door to door in every village. The numbers swell as the local women are keen to join us in this drive," Kaur added.

Women in some of Punjab's villages want alcohol shops to be shut as drinking affects families

She said that in many villages women even want that liquor vends be shut down as drinking has severely affected the rural households socially and economically. This request is particularly high in the Malwa area of the state.

Also Read: What's making AAP click in Punjab? It's not just anger against Badals

The signatures collected by the women activists of AAP would later be handed over to the Governor Professor Kaptan Singh Solanki to express the anguish of womenfolk of Punjab against the state government.

The signatures being collected are a symbolic pledge that the women promise to fight against unemployment, price rise and drug-abuse in the state. The party claims to involve seven lakh of its women supporters in this state wide campaign.

Taking it overseas...

Besides this women-centric campaign being carried out on ground, the AAP leadership plans to take its campaign against drugs overseas.

On the forthcoming International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on 26 June, the party's overseas cells in places like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Qatar, UAE and Singapore will initiate a 'Kick Nasha' campaign.

In US alone, the party plans to organise events in at least 16 cities including Washington DC, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Fresno, Yuba City, Stockton, Modesto, Silicon Valley, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Seattle, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Fairfield on 26 June. Similar programmes have also been planned in Boston, Jackson Mississippi, Bakersfield and Baltimore.

AAP also plans to take its anti-drug drive to the US, UK, Europe, Australia, NZ etc

A painting titled Ek Nasha signed by Arvind Kejriwal and Kumar Vishwas will be auctioned to raise funds for anti-drug campaigns.

A signature campaign will also be started on 26 June and the collected signatures will be submitted to the Consulate General wherever possible.

These events will be coordinated by the country conveners of AAP in their respective countries.

...and online

The party that is known for effective campaigns on social media will once again try to storm the cyber world with the anit-drug campaign.

AAP will start the trend with the hashtag #KickNasha to create awareness about the issue of drug abuse and people will be asked to send messages to the party which will then be shared with a larger audience.

"This campaign will go a long way in creating awareness towards the issue of drug abuse in Punjab globally. We hope that after this the Union and the state government will at least realise the gravity of the situation and stop being oblivious to the problem," said a party functionary.

The party has been campaigning consistently on the issue of drug abuse in the state. Earlier this year senior party leader and poet Kumar Vishwas also wrote a song depicting the plight of a families destroyed by drugs. The song, titled "Nasha" has garnered more than a million views on social media.

The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders had even threatened to sue Kumar Vishwas for maligning the image of the state.

The issue of drug abuse is one of the core issues on which the forthcoming Punjab polls will be contested. The government, while being in a state of denial till now, is desperately trying to play down the issue.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

Also Read: AAP, SAD & Congress wage Punjab proxy battle from Delhi

First published: 25 June 2016, 2:54 IST
 
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