‘No alternative to Kejriwal, will form govt in Delhi again’: Gopal Rai
Speaking a day after the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were announced in which the party drew a blank, Rai said the verdict will have little impact on the outcome of the assembly polls.Updated: May 25, 2019 09:05 IST
Claiming that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will win a consecutive second term in the Delhi assembly polls scheduled to be held next year, senior party leader Gopal Rai on Friday said there was no alternative to Arvind Kejriwal as the chief minister of Delhi.
Speaking a day after the results of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were announced in which the party drew a blank, Rai said the verdict will have little impact on the outcome of the assembly polls.
Rai said, “Just like in the Lok Sabha election people voted for Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) because there was no alternative, in Delhi too there is no alternative to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. AAP will come to power for a second term in the national Capital.”
Rai, who is AAP’s Delhi unit chief and party in charge of Haryana, said the party did not expect “such a result”, particularly in Delhi where it had won 67 of the 70 assembly seats in 2015 and had finished second in the 2014 general elections.
“We were hoping to win at least three seats – South, North West and East Delhi,” he said.
Riding high on the Modi wave, the BJP, for a second time, won all seven parliamentary seats in Delhi with margins ranging from 2.2 lakh to 5.78 lakh. The Congress, which was routed in the 2015 assembly elections, climbed up to the second spot with a vote share of 22.5%, which was 7.5 percentage points more than 2014.
The AAP finished third with 18.11% votes, registering a 14.8 percentage point fall in its vote share since the last Lok Sabha polls. This was the first time in five years that the Congress performed better than the AAP in Delhi.
The AAP said issues such as full statehood to Delhi, the ongoing sealing of commercial establishments, demonetisation of high value bank notes and the roll out of Goods and Services Tax were not “the talking points” of the 2019 general elections.
“We accept that our key poll plank of full statehood to Delhi failed to dominate the political narrative in this highly polarised election. It now looks like the election was a total personality battle – a fight between Modi and Rahul Gandhi. In such a contest, people did not see an option in Kejriwal and the issues that the AAP raised,” Rai said.
The AAP leader said the party could not get votes from unauthorised colonies, slums and Muslim dominated areas because of the same reason. He, however, dismissed that the same factor would play out in the assembly election, saying “people vote differently in national and state polls”.
An analysis of the assembly constituency-wise vote shares shows that the BJP and the Congress got most of the votes from these areas.
At a time when AAP MLAs are defecting to parties such as the BJP, the AAP said Kejriwal will hold a meeting on Sunday to motivate party workers and legislators. After the results on Thursday, Rai said the party leadership had met its Lok Sabha candidates to introspect on the reasons behind the loss.
“We have decided that we would concentrate on the AAP government’s work in the national capital. It would be wrong to compare our performance in 2014 with this election because Congress was not a factor then as there was strong anti-incumbency against the grand old party. It is not the case this time,” he said.
First Published: May 25, 2019 01:50 IST