Following an embarrassing defeat in last year’s Maharashtra assembly elections and an abrupt withdrawal from the recently concluded Bihar elections, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday announced that Aam Aadmi Party will fight the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections that are scheduled to take place in 2022.
In a press conference, the AAP supremo cited issues such as lack of good schools, healthcare facilities and chronic power supply to make a pitch for the Aam Aadmi Party’s entering the fray for the Uttar Pradesh state elections. Kejriwal said UP has been held back from progress and development because of “dirty politics” and “corrupt” politicians in the state.
The AAP chief drew on the party’s 8 years of experience in politics to justify its decision to contest the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha elections. “In its 8 years of experience, AAP formed government thrice in Delhi and has come out as main opposition in Punjab. We will fight Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in 2022,” Kejriwal said.
Kejriwal stated that UP elections would be fought on the plank of Delhi model of governance.
“In 2022 polls, AAP will contest Uttar Pradesh elections… a lot of people from Uttar Pradesh who live in Delhi have told us over the last few years that UP too deserve the welfare and benefits like Delhi,” Kejriwal added.
While Kejriwal made a bold announcement that his party will be gearing up for the UP Vidhan Sabha assembly elections in 2022, it is important to revisit the umpteen number of incidents when Kejriwal’s bluster has gotten the better of him and resulted into humiliating poll drubbings for the Aam Aadmi Party.
AAP wins 1 seat in Goa Zilla Parishad polls
On Monday, the ruling party BJP won 33 out of the 42 seats contested in two Zila Panchayat bodies in Goa. The Congress Party managed to win only one out of the 38 seats on which it contested. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the people have shown trust in BJP. He applauded the enthusiasm of the people of Goa to vote amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Notably, independent candidates won seven seats in the Zila Panchayat polls. Regional party MGP won four seats and AAP managed only one seat in the elections. According to the state election commission, out of 7,91,814 eligible voters, 4.50 lakh voters cast votes. Paper ballots were used in the election instead of EVM machines. This was the first time all major parties except Goa Forward Party were contesting in Zila Panchayat elections.
AAP chickened out of Bihar elections after entering the fray on Delhi model of development
In August this year, Aam Aadmi Party announced that it would be fighting the Bihar Assembly elections that were slated to happen between October 28 to November 7. Kejriwal’s governance and Delhi model of development was touted as a plank on which the AAP was going to challenge the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state.
Senior vice-president of the Bihar unit of AAP Angesh Singh said that Delhi’s model of development led by Arvind Kejriwal would challenge the Nitish Kumar’s government in Bihar, a state, which he claimed, is plagued with corruption, crimes, migration of labourers, flood and plethora of other chronic problems. The party was planning to contest on 100 seats out of the total 243 Bihar Assembly seats and was also said to be planning to tie up with some smaller parties.
However, come October, just about 45 days after announcing that it would fight the state elections, AAP abruptly pulled out of the fray, citing COVID-19 and flood as reasons for not contesting the elections.
AAP lost deposits on all 24 seats it contested in Maharashtra Assembly elections
Bihar was the first full-fledged Assembly elections after the coronavirus pandemic caused grave disruptions and caused India to go into lockdown. However, even before the pandemic took root in India and the rest of the world, AAP’s electoral forays outside Delhi were hardly impressive.
In October 2019, Maharashtra went to the polls where AAP had decided to fight on the 24 of the total 288 Vidhan Sabha seats. During the poll campaign, Kejriwal-led party had promised to “re-engineer” Maharashtra, which, according to it, was “reduced to a failed state”.
However, the Maharashtra resident did not buy into AAP’s poll rhetoric as the party not only failed in opening its account in the assembly elections, but it also lost deposits on all the 24 seats it contested. Most of the candidates barely managed to secure 1,000 votes.
In fact, so devastating was AAP’s defeat in Maharashtra that NOTA(none of the above) had fetched more votes than the AAP candidates in Maharashtra. In Maharashtra polls, the party got 0.11 per cent votes, while NOTA’s vote share was 1.37 per cent.
AAP draws a big zero in the Haryana Assembly elections
Similar was the fate of AAP in Haryana state polls. AAP had fielded 46 candidates of the 90 seats in neighbouring Haryana. But despite being home to Delhi chief minister Kejriwal, voters in the state did not poll for the Aam Aadmi Party. According to the information released by the Election Commission of India, AAP got fewer votes than those cast in favour of NOTA in Haryana. AAP’s vote share stood at 0.48 per cent in Haryana while for NOTA, it was 0.53 per cent.
The AAP had formed an alliance with the Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) in Haryana for the Lok Sabha polls held in April-May, but after a humiliating defeat, it had called off the alliance. AAP had contested 3 seats in the May 2019 General elections, but it lost deposits on all the three seats. It, therefore, severed its ties with JJP in the state. However, JJP went on to win 10 assembly seats in Haryana in the state elections.
AAP loses deposits in all 29 seats it contested in Karnataka
In May 2018, AAP contested the Karnataka state elections, hoping to build a third front in the state against the rivals Congress and the BJP. The Party had contested in 29 seats, 18 of which were from Bengaluru and 11 from other parts of the state. However, it lost deposits on all the seats it fought on. Reflecting on this rout faced by AAP in Karnataka elections Reddy reflected, “We were washed out but I cannot understand why. We got a lot of support but that could not be converted into votes”.
NOTA outperforms AAP in 2018 assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh
NOTA or None Of The Above was preferred choice over the Aam Aadmi Party in the assembly elections that took place in different states.
The NOTA vote share oscillated between 2.0% in Chhattisgarh but AAP could manage to get only 0.9% of the total votes.
In Madhya Pradesh too, AAP lost all candidates and failed to outnumber NOTA votes.AAP had contested on 208 seats out of total 230, and most of the candidates even failed to save their deposits. Their chief ministerial candidate Alok Agrawal, only got 823 votes in his constituency. AAP got 0.7% of total votes while NOTA received 1.4%. SP fared better than AAP, but still not more than NOTA, as it registered 1.3% votes.
Even in Rajasthan AAP got 0.4%, while both SP and NCP got 0.2% each. NOTA votes stood at 1.3%. In Telangana, CPI and CPM both got 0.4% each, while NCP managed 0.4%. NOTA has again outnumbered them all. NOTA registered 1.1% of total votes
AAP loses deposits on all seats in Gujarat and even got lower votes than NOTA on a few in 2017 state elections
If losing election deposits were an Olympics sport, AAP would have surely bagged gold in that. The Aam Aadmi Party lost deposits on all the seats it fought in Gujarat state elections in 2017. The party fought on 33 assembly seats but lost deposit on every single one of them. The embarrassment for the party didn’t stop there and reports emerged later stating that it polled lower votes than even NOTA on a few of the seats.