Arvind Kejriwal's AAP now eyes Haryana, open to dialogue with 'khap panchayats'

AAP leader Yogendra Yadav is leading the party's campaign in Haryana.

New Delhi: After a stunning debut in Delhi, it's neighbouring Haryana that figures prominently in the Aam Aadmi Party's plans. Apart from national elections, due by May, the state is also going to have its Assembly elections this year.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party has decided to fight all 90 seats in Haryana and has opened a unit in all 21 districts of the state.

Leading the AAP's campaign in Haryana is political expert-turned-politician Yogendra Yadav. "We have run out of membership forms in Haryana. This is more than perhaps is due to us. We have stepped in a political vacuum. All I can say this isn't all our doing," Mr Yadav says.

One of the major issues in the state is what is known as dishonor killings. The AAP says it is open to dialogue with 'khap panchayats' or community leaders, including the youth, on the controversial subject.

Khaps, which are unelected community panchayats, have been demanding amendment to Hindu marriage law to prevent marriages within the same 'gotra' or clan. The Supreme Court described dishonor killings as "shameful and barbaric" committed by "feudal-minded persons" who "deserve harsh punishment."

When asked if AAP supports the khap panchayats' demand, Mr Yadav said, "No, we would invite them to an honest democratic dialogue. I would say the future generations should have a little more voice than those which are fading away. Once that dialogue is established and the entire Jat community feels the definition of 'gotra' should be expanded, why not?"

To which Randeep Surjewala of the Congress retorted, "Then we would have to have a referendum slash plebiscite slash opinion where everybody comes to vote. Changes in laws take place in legislatures and parliament." 

While a confident AAP begins campaigning in some states even before coming out with a manifesto, the question now is will the party be able to repeat the Delhi magic in states like Haryana, and, more importantly, on the national stage?
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