A day after Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate Harjit Singh Adaltiwala lost his security deposit, the outfit’s local leaders who had not taken part in the Patiala Urban bypoll campaigning lashed out at him and Patiala member of Parliament (MP) Dr Dharamvira Gandhi for the dismal poll performance.
With 5,724 votes, Adaltiwala polled just 6%, while Dr Gandhi got 35,674 votes from the Patiala assembly segment in the Lok Sabha polls.
With the party’s performance graph taking a steep downward turn over the past three months, it appears the people have lost confidence in the AAP’s promises and agendas.
The AAP’s former district convener Kundan Gogia called the performance ‘shameful’ and criticised the senior leadership for choosing Adaltiwala, who had joined the party four months ago, despite having better options to pick from.
“Adaltiwala did not even know about the party’s history or agenda. Party workers and volunteers were ignored while announcing his candidature. The interviews in Sangrur before declaring the candidate’s name were a mere formality,” he said.
Gogia also met Dr Gandhi on Tuesday and demanded the latter to take responsibility for the defeat.
“The party has deviated from its aim of ‘Swaraj’. Sentiments of workers and volunteers, who were involved even before the AAP became a mainstream party, were ignored completely. Their resentment against Adaltiwala and Gandhi led to the party’s defeat,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, Dr Balbir Singh,a main contender who was ignored following a property dispute, said the senior leaders’ failure to address the grievances of volunteers and workers was the main reason, besides the poor choice of candidate.
He said, “Adaltiwala has no recall value in the city. Despite that he was given the ticket. Neither was he involved in social service nor does he belong to the constituency.”
He claimed that the leadership which failed to establish a rapport with the people should justify the party’s bypoll debacle, he said.
However, Dr Gandhi said they were taking the losses in their stride. Both were high profile seats as the Congress and the SAD had spent hefty sums to win them, he added.
“The defeats have proved that people need to be educated about the SAD and Congress’ dirty politics and corrupt practices. We are at fault as we failed to expose their misdeeds,” he said.