The lofty hopes that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had raised in Haryana after its stunning debut in neighbouring Delhi had unnerved its established political rivals. But the AAP’s decision to relinquish power in Delhi, coupled with lack of strong organisational network and infighting, looks set to affecting its poll prospects in Haryana.
AAP can draw strength from the fact that two of its top leaders — Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav — have their roots in Haryana.
Though the AAP has fielded candidates on all 10 Lok Sabha seats, barring Yogendra Yadav in Gurgaon, Naveen Jaihind in Rohtak and retired IAS officer Yudhbir Singh Khyalia in Hisar, most party nominees are unknown greenhorns. “But then that’s what the AAP stands for — the commoners,” said an AAP sympathiser.
A number of retired bureaucrats who had made a beeline to get AAP membership seem reluctant now to continue their innings with the party after being ignored for the ticket.
The AAP has also been plagued by infighting, cases in point being the recent incident in Gurgaon where party workers publicly denounced the leadership, calling it autocratic, and the spate of protests over ticket distribution.
It also remains to be seen if the party can make inroads into the caste-ridden rural votebank of Haryana.
The very fact that the AAP has also kept the caste profile of the candidates in mind while giving the ticket for each constituency underscores the importance of the caste factor.
Political observers, however, believe that the AAP’s impact would be limited in rural areas and stay confined to urban areas overall.
AAP workers can draw strength and comfort from the fact that two of the party’s top leaders — Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav — have their roots in Haryana, but there are doubts as to how much time the two can devote for party candidates since they are fighting their own poll battles.
To sum up, it needs to be underlined that the AAP largely banks on its forte — that they stand for a new kind of transparent, clean and corruptionfree politics.
By putting up candidates l ike Yo g endra Yadav and Naveen Jaihind, the AAP has tried to reiterate that message. Will it click with the voters of Haryana? That’s a million-dollar question.