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AAP's national ambitions dashed after 'disappointing' results

March 11, 2017 20:31 IST

The Aam Aadmi Party's hope of catapulting itself to the national stage and emerge as an alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress suffered a setback after the party ended a distant second in Punjab and failed to open its account in Goa.

AAP's top brass, which had earlier made claims of sweeping the Punjab election, said that it was disappointed with the poll performance and will review the reasons behind it.

"We accept people's mandate. All volunteers worked hard. Our struggle will continue," party chief Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.

While party had garnered votes in the name of Arvind Kejriwal in both the states, senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas sought to defend the Delhi chief minister saying that the responsibility of the results is "collective".

The AAP bagged 20 seats in Punjab, a state which gave it four MPs in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but the party lost all seats in Goa with its chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes coming fourth from Cuncolim.

During his poll campaign and rallies, Kejriwal claimed that the AAP, in its maiden foray in assembly polls outside Delhi, would sweep Punjab and Goa. He had said that AAP will repeat its Delhi performance where it won 67 out of 70 seats in 2015.

Its vote share in Goa was six per cent as compared to 32 and 28 per cent of the BJP and Congress respectively. Even the independents' 10 per cent vote share in the state.

In Punjab, it stood third in terms of the vote share. Even the Shiromani Akali Dal, which came third in the seats tally, bagged more vote share than the AAP.

The party was looking to establish itself as an alternative to the Akalis and the Congress, putting up a spirited fight in Punjab. Kejriwal addressed over 95 rallies in the state over the past few months.

Vishwas said that the AAP is a "nascent" party in power in Delhi, but it has emerged as a principal opposition party in Punjab.

"We were very hopeful that we would form government (in Punjab), but results are not as per our expectations," Vishwas said.

"We are disappointed with the results. We will introspect on the reasons behind the performance," senior AAP leader Ashutosh said, adding that the party has been defeated before and it will recover for Gujarat.

AAP leader and Delhi minister Kapil Mishra said that the party had not expected such results in Punjab and Goa.

"This was not expected and it its the time to review," Mishra said.

AAPs big guns failed to click in Punjab. Campaign committee in-charge and party MP Bhagwant Mann, party convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi, journalist-turned-politician Jarnail Singh, legal cell incharge Himmat Singh Shergill and Dr Balbir Singh bit the dust.

Mann lost to Shiromani Akali Dal supremo and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal from Jalalabad while Shergill lost to Bikram Singh Majithia from Majithia.

Incidentally, Jarnail Singh had quit as an MLA from Rajouri Garden assembly seat in Delhi to contest against Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Amarinder Singh from Lambi.

Senior lawyer H S Phoolka, who has been fighting for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims, AAP spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira, a former Congressman, journalist-turned-politician Kanwar Sandhu, trader cell incharge Aman Arora, Harpal Singh Cheema, Manjit Singh and Prof Baljinder Singh were among those who won their seats.

IMAGE: AAP's office in New Delhi wears a deserted look after party's defeat in Punjab and Goa assembly elections. Photograph: PTI Photo

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