When the AAP won 28 Assembly seats, my social media timeline was filled with enthusiasts claiming that the new party would get 100 plus Lok Sabha seats. Some experts even stuck their neck out on TV and said 30-50.
In the end they got a measly 4 seats. So what went wrong?
Here are some of the probable reasons…
1. It was all hype in the first place: It is amazing how many people called BJP’s Narendra Modi campaign all hype and something a result of marketing: This despite the fact that he has 12 years-experience as Chief Minister and is the most popular politician in India by a mile.
Then what of Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP? Most people in the villages have not even heard of them. His 49-day stint as Delhi CM was disaster. The reality is that it was nothing but a hyped up event by TV news channels and that was exposed on May 16.
2. Lok Sabha elections are not like Assembly ones: There are many new parties which have stormed to power in an Assembly elections, the TDP and AGP immediately come to mind. However, Lok Sabha seats are a different cup of tea altogether.
Look at the way the BJP has been increasing vote shares in Kerala, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu without getting that many seats. It was a good plan for the AAP to aim for 30-40 seats in the 2019 general elections, not the 2014 ones.
3. Kejriwal ran away from Delhi: Just imagine if Kejriwal contested a seat and campaigned from Delhi. He would have been sure to have picked up his New Delhi seat and maybe even helped a few other seats. Yet he ran away to Varanasi and wasted all his energies there.
If running away once from the Delhi CM’s post was not enough, he ran away from a Delhi Lok Sabha seat too.
4. AAP contested too many seats: In 2004, the BJP got overconfident and decided to contest many more seats. The Congress cut down on their ambitions and contested much less seats. As a result the Congress went ahead.
If you contest lesser seats, then you can use your resources better. The Congress is a 128-year-old party and the RSS was formed in 1925. It was silly for a new party like the AAP to contest in 430 seats.
The quality of the candidates crashed and the AAP simply didn’t have the manpower or money power to undertake such a gigantic task.
If the AAP had targeted on only 70-80 seats where they had a chance they could well have won 10-15 seats and targeted 50 in 2019.
5. People saw Kejriwal gave no governance: The Congress has ruled India for most of the last decades. Most people still have faith in them. It may surprise you that more than 100 million people still voted for them.
Kejriwal in contrast had the disastrous 49-day Delhi government and most Indians lost faith in him after that.
6. It is just another Left-leaning party: India has just elected its first Centre-Right government. If both the BJP and AAP occupied the Right space then the voters could have wondered who to vote for.
But the Congress, CPM, SP, BSP… and now the AAP all occupy the Left space, so why should the common voter vote for the AAP?
The AAP leaders are as arrogant as other political leaders. The AAP fielded criminals too and most of the AAP leaders have cases against them. The AAP leaders are as hypocritical and like parties rely on things like dharnas.
The attack on the BJP headquarters where a lot of stone pelting took place was the absolute low for this party claiming to be different. The truth is that the common Indian doesn’t see any difference between AAP and other parties.
7. Kejriwal couldn’t even beat Dr Harsh Vardhan: It is ironic that this fact was missed by most TV channels. The AAP chief ministerial candidate was Kejriwal and the BJP’s was Harsh Vardhan.
Harsh Vardhan beat Kejriwal 31-28.
It was only the opportunistic alliance with the Congress that got the AAP past the BJP.
Kejriwal was never ever a match for Modi and despite the TV channels trying their desperate best Modi thrashed Kejriwal 7-0 in the Delhi Lok Sabha seat race.
More from the author:
Arvind Kejriwal: The boy who was afraid
Which was India’s ultimate 'wave' election?
6 reasons why the Congress may be finished
Seven positives of general elections 2014
Killing them softly with Twitter names
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.