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
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