Aam Aadmi Party has been completely snubbed by the people of Punjab in the Assembly Elections 2017, even after continued efforts by Arvind Kejriwal and his party members in the state. As the poll results are a clear indicator that Congress has swept the public mandate, it is the AAP dream which has been killed. While Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP did not expect much from this year’s election in the state, AAP had a lot at stake. While AAP is positioned in the second place after Congress in the number of seats, the vote share paints a different picture. While Kejriwal’s party did not even manage one-fifth of the total number of seats (117), it still is positioned above the SAD-BJP alliance. But it is a different scenario when we look at the vote percentage that the parties secured. According to Election Commission of India, AAP managed only 23.9 percent of the votes. Meanwhile, the BJP-SAD alliance was able to garner even more votes, at 30.5 percent.
The data essentially means that Kejriwal’s modus operandi of the narrative against corruption and drug abuse in the state was not able to sway the public emotion in Punjab. Additionally, the fact that Congress won the election by a big margin despite getting only 38.4 percent of the votes is also an indicator that AAP completely failed to achieve what it set out to. Meanwhile, the state of affairs is worse in Goa. While it is a close fight going on between Congress and BJP, AAP failed in its maiden attempt in Goa. BJP has managed to get 33.4 percent of the votes, while Congress managed only 27 percent. Yet the number of seats, both these parties have won are almost the same. Meanwhile, Kejriwal’s party could not even open its account and could administer only 6 percent of the votes.
Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party, after winning Delhi elections in 2015, was pinning hopes on Punjab and Goa in a bid to increase its pan-India presence. But if the poll results of Assembly Elections are any indicator, it is almost a shut case for AAP’s larger dream of a national footprint.
The election results show that Congress has clearly swept the public mandate in Punjab and people have paid no heed to AAP in Goa as well. After Congress’ continual failures since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, AAP has been expecting to be the alternative party and end PM Narendra Modi’s bid in 2019 parliamentary elections.
Needless to say, AAP had used all its resources by sending its best people to Punjab in order to build organisations and did well to make its presence felt. This was even showcased in the Exit poll results where it was a leading party in the state. But the final result portrays a big gap between the party and Congress. AAP also made its foray into Goa, but it did not expect much from the BJP ruled state, yet it wanted to penetrate as much as it could. With CM candidate Elvis Gomes, AAP expected to win at least a few seats, but in vain. AAP won ZERO seats in 40-seat Goa Assembly.
AAP’s best bet was Punjab, which had 117 assembly seats for contestation, where Kejriwal could have shown the party;s prowess in running a full-fledged state. It could also have ended his criticism of the conflict between centre and the Delhi government. Had AAP won Punjab, Kejriwal would have wanted to fulfil the promises made in the state especially regarding the curbing of corruption, while also running the Delhi government. This also could have given him much leverage in the next Lok Sabha polls, if delivered. This is mainly because AAP was expected to be slowly emerging as quite the alternative to the done and dusted Congress, but Congress ended the dream run. Back in 2015, AAP had wiped out Congress in Delhi, where it recorded a historic win with 67 seats. The big win and the decline of Congress had given the party much hope.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal-led AAP has started ground work in many other states, like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. But it is hard to say how it will fare, as there seems to be no stopping Narendra Modi-led BJP as of now.
Kejriwal was very serious about the Punjab elections and addressed around 100 rallies in the state. His cabinet ministers also moved across Punjab and highlighted the importance of many issues shrouding the government. It was AAP’s anti-corruption crusade which took on the Badals and Congress leaders led by Captain Amarinder Singh.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal-led AAP has started ground work in many other states, like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. But it is hard to say how it will fare, as there seems to be no stopping Narendra Modi-led BJP as of now. The main reason for failure in Goa was that most of AAP’s top leaders were involved in Punjab, and this crunch will happen in other states too. If the party does not mend ways soon, it won’t be long that it will fade away.