New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party seems to be headed for a near-decimation in the two states where it holds some clout. Trends indicate that it is trailing in all seven seats in stronghold Delhi, while in Punjab, it leads in just one.
According to the Election Commission of India website, the BJP is leading on all seven seats in Delhi, with the Congress emerging as the No.2 in four seats — New Delhi, Chandni Chowk, North-East Delhi and East Delhi. AAP is second in South Delhi, North-West and West Delhi.
In Punjab, where the party had won four Lok Sabha seats in 2014 and 20 assembly seats in 2017, it is leading only in Sangrur, where state party chief Bhagwant Mann is contesting. The party hasn’t even managed second place in any other seat.
The rise and fall of AAP
The Aam Aadmi Party formed its first government in Delhi in 2013 with 28 legislators and support from the Congress party. Barely a year old, the party managed to make its mark in the capital with a vote share of 29.49 per cent. The Arvind Kejriwal-led government lasted 49 days, after which he resigned over differences regarding the Jan Lokpal Bill — the party’s chief poll plank.
AAP’s ambitions weren’t limited to the national capital. In 2014, the AAP fielded 432 candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, winning four parliamentary seats in Punjab.
While it failed to open its account in the national capital, the party’s vote share only grew, doubling by the time it contested the 2015 Delhi assembly elections. AAP’s vote share rose to 54.3 per cent in the national capital, giving it an unprecedented majority of 67 out of the 70 seats.
However, soon after, a crisis broke out in the party, with many of the senior leaders being expelled. Party chief Kejriwal was accused of being authoritarian and not listening to anyone else.
The decline was visible in the 2017 Delhi municipal elections — AAP’s vote share fell to 26.23 per cent even as Congress’ vote share rose to 21.09 per cent.
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the party was fighting a battle on two fronts — against Narendra Modi’s central government and against the dissent within the party.
Kejriwal has often alleged that the BJP hindered his party’s ability to work in the capital. The jury is still out on his government’s flagship schemes such as the mohalla clinics and the revamping of the government school system. In March, an NGO found that the pass percentage and enrolment have actually fallen in Delhi government schools under AAP.