Yet another humiliating defeat for AAP
The poor electoral run of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) continued in Punjab on Thursday as the party got another drubbing in the byelections to four assembly seats.
The principal opposition party had won the Dakha seat and stood second in Jalalabad in the 2017 assembly elections, but ended with just 5% vote share this time. All four party candidates lost their security deposits.
Though it had fared equally bad in these assembly segments during the Lok Sabha elections five months ago, the AAP banked on its state unit president and two-time Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann’s personal appeal and ability to connect with rural voters to try and improve its showing even though it was a foregone conclusion that a repeat of the 2017 showing was not possible.
Mann, who led the splintered state unit’s campaign, went after the ruling Congress with dollops of sarcasm and innuendo in his speeches and did manage to pull the crowds to his rallies, but couldn’t convert them into votes.
The electoral debacle will further demoralise the state leaders and supporters who have been sceptical about the state leadership’s ability to pull out of the hole it has driven itself into. “There were discordant voices when the decision to contest the bypolls was taken but being the principal opposition party we could not have kept away. We need to introspect seriously,” said a senior leader who did not want to be named.