With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) losing both Goa and Punjab Assembly elections, party supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's ambition to become a national leader has gone for a toss. At least for now.
A lot was at stake for AAP and Kejriwal, especially in Punjab, which is the only state outside Delhi where the party has any sizeable presence; the state gave the party its total strength of four MPs in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. A win in either or both the states would have catapulted AAP to a true national status as no party other than the BJP or Congress has the privilege of ruling in multiple states of the country.
Other stalwarts such as the Trinamool Congress, the AIADMK, DMK, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, the Akali Dal, Telugu Desam Party to name a few, have at best been regional satraps. The Left never ruled except in West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.
The defeat is a lesson for Kejriwal to get the fundamental principles of Indian politics right before aiming for the post of Prime Minister. In 2014, the newbie politician had contested from Varanasi with the aim to stop the Narendra Modi juggernaut.
The results, as we all know, made history.
Building a pan-India base, given the diversity of the country, is not a child's play. Kejriwal could take a leaf out of other political parties' growth trajectory.
There is nothing wrong in contesting outside its own state or stretching oneself beyond one’s own boundaries, but when the ambition reaches the stage of megalomania, it invariably results in failure.
Much before the counting of votes began, Kejriwal had virtually declared his party a winner in the Punjab and Goa. And, topped it up by announcing that his next destination was Gujarat — to take Modi head on in his own state.
“AAP and Arvind Kejriwal kept morality at bay and rushed from one state to another announcing that only they would win. One can contest from anywhere one wants to, but the way it has been done [by AAP] is not in good taste. Kejriwal screamed his loudest that only his party would win. That was not the right thing to do. By losing elections in Punjab and Goa, the ambition of Kejriwal has gone for a toss,” former AAP member and Swaraj India president, Yogendra Yadav said.
The over-confidence of AAP can be judged from the fact that AAP senior leader Manish Sisodia said in Punjab in January, “We will not leave Punjab and sit in Delhi… You should vote assuming you are voting to make Arvind Kejriwal the chief minister. Vote in the name of Arvind Kejriwal.”
In Goa, AAP failed to win a single seat; its CM candidate Elvis Gomes too lost his seat.
In his ambition to scale the peak of national politics, Kejriwal has left his primary constituency indignant. The frustration among the people of Delhi is palpable, which is most visible among the capital's autowallahs who are now getting vocal about their complaint that the promises Kejriwal made enroute his election victory are yet to be fulfilled.
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Updated Date: Mar 11, 2017 19:58 PM