In the aftermath of the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) disappointing performance in the Lok Sabha elections, its Delhi MLAs are worried that the party would rapidly lose ground in the national capital if the Assembly elections were called sooner rather than later.
On Saturday, it had emerged that a section of the MLAs suggested that the AAP look to rekindling its relationship with the Congress in an attempt to form government once again.
However, the party leadership was quick to rebuff that.
A senior party leader said, “There is no doubt that the Lok Sabha results were extremely disappointing, especially the fact that we did not win even one seat in Delhi. But there is no question of allying with the Congress again. That would adversely affect our impression among voters. The reasons behind the government’s resignation in February still hold true. There can be no compromise on that.”
It was only in December 2013 that the AAP rode a wave of popular support to gather 28 seats in its maiden Vidhan Sabha election. With the support of the Congress, which had eight seats, the AAP then went on to form government. In February, though, Arvind Kejriwal resigned as Chief Minister after the Jan Lokpal Bill was stalled, and Delhi has been under President’s rule since.
In the months between renouncing the state government and May 16, the AAP had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court, challenging L-G Najeeb Jung’s decision to place the Vidhan Sabha in suspended animation, and calling for fresh elections at the earliest.
However, after gaining only four seats nationwide in the Lok Sabha polls — all in Punjab — leaders seem apprehensive about the prospect of holding re-polls in Delhi at the earliest.
“Despite the fact that we filed this petition, we should not bring this up right now. It is clear that there is a huge Modi wave, and if elections were held right now in Delhi, there is huge chance that the BJP will emerge as the single largest party. Our vote share has increased in some Assembly segments, but that has come at the cost of the Congress. Our competition is now with the BJP,” an AAP MLA said.
Among the party’s volunteers, whose confidence has taken a hit after AAP failed to secure even a single seat in Delhi, the focus has turned to Kejriwal’s decision to quit, as well as that to form government in the first place.
“A series of decisions have gone wrong. If elections happen right now, what will we tell the voter? First, we formed the government with Congress support, and then quit because of the Lokpal Bill.
Allying with the Congress would be a bad idea, given that we attacked them not only for corruption but also their reluctance on the Jan Lokpal. We will have to rebuild voter and volunteer confidence again,” Nitin Sharma, a college student and an AAP volunteer, said.