A number of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supporters who were making arrangements for the past one week to make unfolding of their party’s likely victory into a public event in Canadian cities of Vancouver and Toronto went back heartbroken.
On Friday evening as per the local time there, they got together in banquet halls in both the cities but as they saw AAP’s tally struggling to cross the 20 mark, they started leaving the venue. If the AAP had won, viewing of vote counting would have been followed by celebrations in the early morning.
“The entire plan went for a toss,” said Mandeep Singh, a Brampton resident, who had planned to be part of the public viewing of results. But a message from his parents that AAP was not winning dissuaded him from going to the banquet hall.
Some who were scheduled to appear for election night debates on local Punjabi-language TV channels opted out, unable to believe what had transpired.
Among those taken aback was 32-year-old Sudeep Singla: “Things went completely off the track. We are all very upset, we never thought this could happen.” Adding to the sense of injury was the fact that party had “not even lost very respectfully.”
“NRIs respect mandate by the people. So we would put our heads together and think where we went wrong,” said Joban Randhawa, AAP’s youth overseas convener. Joban, who was studying in Toronto, was still to decide to resume studies or not.
“All cards have fallen haywire,” said Yadvinder Singh Sidhu from Vancouver, Canada. “Bombay (the banquet hall) in Surrey wore a sombre look, within one hour of the start of counting,” he added, saying that there was no goodbye and people started slipping out of the venue.
Gurinder Singh Matharoo, a Punjabi businessman in Adelaide, Australia, said the usual euphoria among the Punjabi community had evaporated. “People are not talking to each other. Earlier they used to talk to one another very frequently about poll scenario,” he told HT over telephone.
“Now we hope for good governance from Capt Amarinder Singh. Poor show by AAP is disheartening for Punjabi diaspora living in USA too,” said Rajwant Singh, a dentist in Potomac, Washington.
He termed it the most watched election in India by the diaspora. According to Rajwant Singh, “We were expecting Punjab would opt for new leadership and a corruption-free administration. But people have decided to go for status quo. We can’t help.”