17 April, 2021

Broomstick Broke, AAP Got A Poke

AAP’s loss in Punjab and Goa is greater for its overweening hope, self-defeating strategy

Photograph by Prabhjot Singh Gill
Broomstick Broke, AAP Got A Poke

The Aam Aadmi Party’s debacle in the Punjab ass­embly elections has undoubtedly jeopardised the party’s national ambitions. It has also plunged the party’s leadership and volunteers into a deep gloom, for it means they confront the impending Delhi municipal elections on a weaker wicket and will not have a strident victory narrative to take to Gujarat’s assembly polls.

AAP’s Punjab experience has also raised questions over whe­ther the party went wrong in estimating its own popularity and the surge in favour of party chief Arvind Kejriwal. What the leadership is also “introspecting” about is their ability to bargain with, and man­­age exp­ectations of, regio­nal leaders.

The electoral debacle has also bared the party’s mis-steps, though such clarity is brought about by hindsight alone. The most stark instance of AAP’s miscalculations is how it und­erestimated the impact of riv­als’ propaganda on the state’s moderate Sikhs and Hindus. This damaging narrative, created...

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