The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may have gone big this Lok Sabha election by fielding more than 400 candidates, but leaders in states where it is in disarray are jittery about the rookie party's future.
In Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat — where the AAP is not likely to make much impact on its general election debut —the party could face a split or an exodus after results are announced on May 16, according to state leaders.
Some of them feel dissent over ticket distribution, gap between the central and state leaderships, and opportunists joining the AAP after its stellar assembly poll debut in Delhi last year could hurt the party.
"We could see upheaval in the state unit after the results on May 16," Ajit Kumar Singh, an office-bearer in the Bihar unit, told HT.
"The central leadership should have kept a close watch on state units," he added.
The AAP is contesting all 40 seats in Bihar. If Singh is to be believed, the party does not hope to win any of them.
In Madhya Pradesh, an AAP office-bearer said there was no check on the people who came on board.
"Many joined the party to milk its popularity after the Delhi assembly results, and if the results (of the Lok Sabha elections) are not favourable, they would not stay," he said.
State convenor Abhay Verma admitted if the party failed to win any seat, the going will be tough. "We are hoping to win one seat, but if that does not happen, we will have a difficult time."
The AAP has fielded candidates in all 29 seats in MP.
The situation is not very different in Rajasthan. Ashok Jain, AAP's state convenor, said the party could have chances of winning a few seats if the central leadership had devoted more time.
"Of course… Arvind Kejriwal's rally here would have made a huge difference. But then, I am aware that he is in demand from all across the country."
The desert state has 25 Lok Sabha constituencies. The AAP has fielded candidates in 22 seats. Jain said he was confident that the party would win his seat, Kota.
In Gujarat, the AAP is hit by a tug of war between activists-turned-politicians and leaders with political background.
"The fight between those (who came) from Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, an RSS-affiliated farmers' body, and people who were activists will come out in the open after the election results are declared," a party member said.