After its triumph in Delhi, Haryana was the focus state for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). But the comprehensive rejection of the AAP by the electorate in Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections has made it evident that the rookie party lost the plot completely.
The AAP not only fielded its candidates for all 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state but its leader Arvind Kejriwal chose Haryana to launch its national campaign from Rohtak town Feb 23. With AAP leaders like Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav hailing from Haryana, the party hoped to make gains here.
The electorate had other ideas. Out of the record 71.86 percent of Haryana's nearly 16.1 million electorate who voted, just 4.2 percent voted for the AAP in entire Haryana.
The AAP got a total of over 488,000 votes. None of its 10 candidates could get 100,000 votes. All of them lost their security deposit.
"Something went terribly wrong. Most of AAP's volunteers and leaders during the Delhi campaign came from Haryana. Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav had strong Haryana connections. The party was even eyeing sweeping the state in the coming assembly polls," Hisar-based businessman Naveen Gupta told IANS.
The highest votes polled by any AAP candidate went to AAP national strategist Yogendra Yadav in Gurgaon. He got about 80,000 votes, finished fourth, comprehensively behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Congress candidates.
The winning BJP candidate from Gurgaon, former union minister Rao Inderjit Singh, got 644,780 votes. He was ahead of Yadav, whom AAP was earlier projecting as the next chief minister of Haryana, by 565,000 votes.
Inderjit Singh, who left the Congress this year to join the BJP, polled the highest individual votes by any candidate in the state. He won over his nearest rival of the INLD by over 274,000 votes.
The lowest votes polled by any AAP candidate was just 22,200 for the Bhiwani-Mahendergarh seat by Lalit Aggarwal. Bhiwani is the home district of Kejriwal's family.
Prominent AAP candidates like Naveen Jaihind (Rohtak), whom Kejriwal gave his blue-coloured Wagon-R car for campaigning, and bureaucrat-turned-politician Yudhbir Singh Khyalia had to bite the electoral dust. They got 46,759 and 28,490 votes respectively.
"The AAP failed to finish even third on any seat. It was comprehensively rejected by the Haryana voters," political observer Sanjeev Sheoran told IANS.
At least seven out of the 10 winners of Lok Sabha seats had polled more votes in their respective constituencies than the combined votes of all 10 AAP candidates.
Though the AAP could not win a single seat elsewhere in the country, neighbouring Punjab elected four AAP candidates to the Lok Sabha with 24.2 percent vote share. Even though AAP could not win a single seat in Delhi, its candidates finished second on all seven seats, pushing the Congress to the third position.