Party’s rout in Delhi with de­feats in all seven Lok Sabha seats has raised a few ques­tions about its fu­ture. It may have risked too much by go­ing na­tional with­out strength­en­ing its sup­port in Delhi

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - RI­TIKA CHO­PRA

AAP Leader

AAP Chief

Aweek is a long time in pol­i­tics, it is of­ten said. Five months,then,qual­i­fies­fora near eter­nity. Arvind Ke­jri­wal-led Aam Aadmi Party ap­peared to prove this on Fri­day when it suf­fered a com­plete rout in the Lok Sabha elec­tions in Delhi, just over five months af­ter form­ing the govern­ment fol­low­ing the as­sem­bly elec­tions in which it emerged as the sec­ond largest party in its first elec­toral out­ing. As the ver­dict be­came re­sound­ing­ly­clearthroughthe­courseof the day, AAP vol­un­teers seemed more con­fused than dis­ap­pointed by the re­sult­sthatem­phat­i­callyshowedup the party’s de­ci­sion to plunge into na­tional pol­i­tics af­ter giv­ing up power in Delhi within 49 days. AAP lost all seven seats in Delhi as the BJP emerged the win­ner in all con­stituen­cies. “I don’t know what went wrong. We­worked­hardandraisedtheright is­sues. The re­sults are quite con­fus­ing,” said party vol­un­teer Vinita Chan­dra in Varanasi. The Lok Sabha re­sults have thrown up quite a few ques­tions for AAP. Did the party risk too much by go­ing na­tional with­out strength­en­ing its sup­port in Delhi? Does the rout in Delhi point to its ir­rel­e­vance given the to­tal tri­umph of the BJP? Did it spread it­self too thin by con­test­ing 434 seats with­out much time and re­sources? Al­though the AAP lead­er­ship put up a brave face on Fri­day, many se­nior mem­bers told ET, on the con­di­tion of anonymity, that the party was wor­ried over these ques­tions and needed se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tion to find out what went wrong with its Lok Sabha cam­paign. Ke­jri­wal will hold a se­ries of meet­ings over the next one week to seek an­swers to such ques­tions. AAPlead­erSan­jaySing­had­mit­ted on record that the party failed to gal­vanise sup­port for is­sues over per- son­al­i­ties. “We failed to in­spire people to vote for is­sues and not per­son­al­i­ties. While we did not makemis­take­sas­fara­sourstrat­egy and ef­fort are con­cerned, the lack of time and re­sources did not al­low us to change the think­ing of vot­ers. That’s our big­gest chal­lenge. If we can’t change this mind­set, then it will be dif­fi­cult for the party to sur­vive,” he told ET. There is no con­fu­sion within the party, though, on its fu­ture plans. Al­though AAP could not man­age the four to five per cent vote share it was hop­ing to get, its lead­ers were happy that the party gar­nered over a crore votes and ex­uded con­fi­dence that the party could build on this sup­port. AAP has its eyes firmly set on Ma­ha­rash­tra and Harayana as-

AAP SE­NIOR LEADER sem­bly elec­tions due later this year. “We are in it for the long haul and there is no doubt about that. We just needtofig­ure­outhow­toim­proveon our strat­egy and not re­peat mis­takes,” said a se­nior leader, who did notwish­to­bei­den­ti­fied,re­fer­ringto the party’s seem­ingly im­pul­sive de­ci­sion to quit govern­ment in Delhi. One of AAP’s top pri­or­i­ties is or­gan­i­sa­tion build­ing. “We need to strengthen the party or­gan­i­sa­tion at the grass­roots level. This is the only way we can reach out to ev­ery voter and en­sure that the Modi hype, which is built on lies, starts c r um­bling i n t he ne x t f ew months,” Singh added. The party can scarcely es­cape some self-in­tro­spec­tion, though, and it is look­ing up to its chief Ke­jri­wal,whoi­s­ex­pect­ed­to­head­for vi­pas­sana (med­i­ta­tion) in the next few days.

se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tion to find out what went wrong with its Lok Sabha cam­paign

ANIR­BAN to get four to five per­cent vote share it was hop­ing, but party is happy that it gar­nered over 1 cr votes per­for­mance in Ma­ha­rash­tra and Harayana as­sem­bly elec­tions due

later this year AAP’s top pri­or­i­ties is or­gani

sa­tion build­ing and build


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