AAP down but not out yet

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hoped of a “new dawn” in Punjab and a better show in Goa but its dreams came crashing down by Saturday noon with the outcome of five Assembly polls, putting breaks on its national ambitions.

Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s hope of AAP occupying a prominent space in the anti-Modi brigade by displacing Congress also suffered a hit with the latter wining the Punjab polls hands down.

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Though it did not bet high on its prospects in Goa, it appeared the AAP did expect a better show in Punjab. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, a close aide of Kejriwal, tweeted as soon as the counting of votes started, “Today is the day of Punjabiyat. Hoping for a new dawn from Punjab” but the results went the other way.

The AAP could not open its account in Goa, where its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes lost, despite high hopes while its wish of forming a government in Punjab, a second state after Delhi, did not go through.

The results showed AAP is not being able to repeat its ‘Delhi magic’ anywhere outside the capital but the consolation was that it has emerged as the second largest party in Punjab though far behind the Congress. It did not contest the polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur.

The Punjab results are not flattering for Kejriwal, who had left Delhi’s governance to his close aide Sisodia to concentrate on campaigning in Punjab and Goa. There were also rumour about Kejriwal moving to Punjab as Chief Minister in case AAP wins majority. Sisodia himself vaguely suggested such a move, only to deny later.

Kejriwal “bowed” to the decision of people and said the struggle will go on. AAP leaders said they will introspect the results.

Political analysts feel AAP’s plan to enter Gujarat may also get a hit with the results, as they feel people may have some reservations about party’s strike rate outside Delhi following its poor show outside the capital. AAP has big ambitions to go national.
The immediate effect of the Punjab polls could be on Delhi civic polls where Punjabis are in

a significant number. Congress may find it more encouraging to face the Delhi voters in the civic polls by pointing to the rejection of AAP there.

(Mar 11, 2017)

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