After much-hyped elections in Punjab that were fought on a serious issue of drug addiction, Congress defeated the Aam Aadmi Party by a huge margin of 57 seats. The 75-year-old Captain Amarinder Singh who got a major boost when Navjot Singh Sidhu joined the party, is set to be the Chief Minister for the second time in his political career. Unlike the other states, Punjab was a battle between AAP and Congress but Arvind Kejriwal’s party failed to give any competition to the latter party. A vote share of 24 percent also didn’t paint a very good picture for them. So where did the party lose? What mistakes did they make? Let’s have a look:
1. No CM Face
India has a history of voting for personalities than for parties. While Congress was led by Captain Amarinder Singh and the SAD-BJP alliance banked on the tested leadership of Parkash Singh Badal, AAP didn’t name any CM candidate leading to speculations that Arvind Kejriwal may take the post himself. This certainly didn’t work in party’s favour.
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2. Poor Candidate selection
Since the party was making its debut in the state, selecting the candidates was always going to be an important part but it failed miserably on that front. Most candidates didn’t have any connect with the people and by the time their names were announced, Congress was already in the lead.
3. Focusing on one area
One major lesson that AAP might have learnt is that you cannot win the elections by focusing on one particular region. Malwa with 69 seats at stake was AAP’s major target and it invested most of its resources there. However, it ended up getting only 18 seats from there.
4. Over Confidence
This isn’t the first time when Arvind Kejriwal’s over-confidence has cost the party. The Delhi CM needs to understand that in India people don’t watch the most artistically made movies but the ones with the commercial angle. His decision to remove Sucha Singh Chhotepur less than 9 months before the elections also went against the party.
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5. Failure to sweep away SAD
A lot of people expected a complete wipe out for Shiromani Akali Dal but despite winning just 15 seats, the party managed to have 25.5 percent vote share which was more than Aam Aadmi Party’s vote share and comedian-turned-MP Bhagwant Mann lost to Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
This was Aam Aadmi Party’s opportunity to get into a strong position before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections but it has blown it away my making these mistakes. However, being the opposition party won’t be a bad bet for AAP either as it will have opportunities to attack Amarinder Singh and Congress on issues related to farmers and other marginalised sections of voters.