For all its bravado, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has not only received a hammering in the Lok Sabha polls but has also ended up behind NOTA in several states.
The AAP – which had formed the government in Delhi earlier this year – ended up with just 4 seats from 400 candidates it had fielded in the elections.
In states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, more voters pressed the none of the above button (NOTA) than that of AAP.
And this fact has been acknowledged by the party.
"The fact that people preferred NOTA over AAP means our message of alternative politics could not reach the voters," Abhay Verma, the party's Madhya Pradesh convener, told HT.
Party's Odisha convener Nishikanta Mohapatra said the party did not have time as well resources at hand to make an impact on the voters.
"People perhaps felt that AAP did not have the wherewithal to change anything on the ground and that voting for BJP or BJD made more sense," he said.
In MP, AAP received 1.2% votes, while NOTA received 1.3% votes. Similarly, in Odisha NOTA received 1.6% compared to 0.7% for AAP.
In Karnataka, where the party fielded its richest candidate -- former CFO of tech giant Infosys V Balakrishnan -- NOTA (0.8257%) fared marginally better than the party (0.8254%).
The result, according to the Madhya Pradesh convener, has shocked the leaders and volunteers alike and it will be a challenge for the party to reinvigorate them.
"We will have to work very hard to rebuild the confidence of the members and volunteers," he said.
Party's national executive member Prithvi Reddy, who belongs to Karnataka, said the way the Modi tsunami swept the nation, the AAP did not stand a chance.
"As compared to the BJP campaign we were simply not visible," he said.
Conceding that the party had a lot of introspection to do in the backdrop of its poor performance, Reddy said the silver lining was that the party has been able to erect a minimum basic infrastructure on the ground and it has located over 400 clean candidates who will help build the organisation in the coming years.
"Now that the results are out only those who are committed to the idea of the party will stick to it," he said.
Some of the states that saved the day for the party are Delhi, Punjab and Haryana that polled 33%, 24% and 4.2% respectively.