Apriadi Gunawan, Medan – Entrepreneur and former Jakarta deputy governor Sandiaga Uno has joined the campaign team for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law Bobby Afif Nasution and running mate Aulia Rachman ahead of the mayoral race in Medan, North Sumatra later this year.
Sandiaga – who ran as a vice presidential candidate alongside Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto against Jokowi and current Vice President Ma'ruf Amin in last year's presidential election – is set to serve as a member of the team's supervisory board alongside Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) members Maruarar Sirait and Sukur Nababan.
PDI-P chairperson in Medan, Hasyim, said Bobby had personally suggested that Sandiaga be involved in his campaign. Bobby had already confirmed Sandiaga's position on the team, he said.
"Bobby has contacted [Sandiaga]," Hasyim told The Jakarta Post on Monday. "It's all clear."
Hasyim, who leads the campaign for the Bobby-Aulia ticket, said the team was enthusiastic about Sandiaga's support, claiming that many voters in Medan were already partial to the prominent businessman during last year's presidential race.
"Sandiaga Uno has a tremendous following in Medan, so we believe his involvement on the team will benefit the Bobby-Aulia ticket," he said, adding that Sandiaga's past opposition to the Jokowi camp was unlikely to deter the mayoral candidate's supporters in the region.
However, whether Sandiaga's endorsement of the Bobby-Aulia ticket could actually help put the campaign team at an advantage remains to be seen, as a number of his supporters in Medan have voiced their disappointment at his involvement in the campaign.
Harun Al Rasyid, a local Sandiaga supporter, for instance, said he was dismayed by the latest turn of events, claiming that the former vice presidential candidate's involvement in the Bobby-Aulia campaign team could upset his following.
"It's upsetting [...] because Bobby is part of the political dynasty that [Sandiaga and Prabowo] opposed in the 2019 election," Harun told the Post.
According to Harun, Sandiaga's endorsement of the Bobby-Aulia ticket did not necessarily mean that his supporters would vote for the pair.
Instead, Sandiaga's following in Medan was more likely to vote for Medan acting mayor Akhyar Nasution and deputy mayor Salman Alfarisi in the upcoming election on Dec. 9, he said.
The Bobby-Aulia ticket has had the backing of eight parties, including the PDI-P, Gerindra, Golkar and NasDem. Meanwhile, the Akhyar-Salman ticket has been endorsed by the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and the Democratic Party. (rfa)