AAP's meteoric rise and ignominious fall

Kejriwal-led party loses half its vote share from the 2015 Assembly polls

AAP's meteoric rise and ignominious fall
The Aam Aadmi Party’s electoral juggernaut has stalled just two years after a spectacular run in Delhi that put the BJP to shame.

The BJP has reversed its dismal showing in the 2015 Assembly elections with a convincing victory in this year’s municipal elections, whose results were announced on Wednesday.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has every reason to be worried as it has lost half its share from the 2015 Assembly polls, when it had netted 54.3% of the votes to take home 67 of 70 seats.

Initial estimates suggest the party has bagged just 26.21% in the civic elections. This is less than what it had garnered in the 2013 Assembly elections (29.49%) and the 2014 Lok Sabha elections (32.90%).
In the 2013 Assembly polls, AAP had won 28 seats. It did not contest the 2012 civic elections, and saw an increase in the three subsequent elections. This time around, it has seen a sharp decrease in the vote share, by more than half.

Leaders put up a brave face, saying it was not fair to compare civic elections with Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. They also said it was not correct to write the party’s obituary yet.

Will AAP tweak its go-alone strategy? Will it bring back old hands who have left the party? Several questions arise as it stares at the prospect of a challenge to its leadership, including Kejriwal.

The recent Rajouri Garden bypoll, where its candidate lost his deposit in a sitting seat, and now the civic poll results indicate that AAP has squandered its hard-earned political capital in less than five years of its formation. The latest drubbing comes just two months after its ambitions of winning the Punjab and Goa Assembly elections collapsed.

The leadership is singing the “EVM manipulation” tune, even as the party wonders how to win back the confidence of the Delhi voters, who have perhaps indicated that it should shed its confrontational politics.
Once a darling of the middle class, AAP now has to fight the impression that it is willing to abandon Delhi for greener pastures like Punjab.


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