Following its dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to hold a series of “chintan shivirs” (brainstorming camps) to assess the reasons.
Rajesh Mittal, member of the state executive, said the preliminary analysis of the party’s performance showed it had failed to penetrate in the areas they had targeted.
AAP had contested all 48 seats in the state. Senior leaders like Anjali Damania, Mayank Gandhi and Subhash Ware, along with social activists Medha Patkar, Maruti Bhapkar, Subhash Lomate had contested the elections.
Other than Wamanrao Chatrap, all other candidates lost their deposit, with the party managing to corner just 2.2 per cent of the total votes polled in the state.
Ware, the candidate from Pune, managed to poll just 28,657 votes. In Pune district, only Maruti Bhapkar, the candidate from Maval, managed to cross the 30,000 vote mark.
Both Ware and Mittal said the result was not expected, given the response they had got during campaigning. Mittal said they had concentrated on certain sections, including slums, where they failed to get the votes ringing.
During the campaign trail, the party volunteers had stayed in slums to make in-roads. “We are yet to get the booth-level data. Micro-level analysis will happen only after we get that data,” he said. The state unit has already started re-drawing the party’s strategy, conducting extensive reviews of the party’s performance.
Anjali Damania, state convenor of the party, said they would contest the upcoming Assembly polls from select seats.
Some candidates in Western Maharashtra pointed out that national convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s failure to contest the polls had reduced their chances of winning.
Damania, speaking about the post-poll scenario, said the party would overcome this setback by preparing itself for the Assembly polls due later this year.
“We will be analysing the trends and then take a decision on the number of seats we would be contesting,” she said.
According to Damania, the party will be able to concentrate better if they choose only a few seats to contest. “Also, keeping in view the strained resources of the party, we would not be able to raise all the money necessary to fight all seats,” she said.
Dismissing the criticism that party leaders like Kejriwal, Sanjay Singh and others have become distant, Damania said since many of them had decided to contest the elections, they were busy in their own campaigns.
“In order to discuss our performance in the elections, we will hold seven chintan shivirs in the state. These will be attended by national executive members Pankaj Gupta, Ajit Jha and other state executive members.”
Starting from next week, the camps would be held Marathwada, Vidharbha, Khandesh, Western Marathwada, Mumbai and Konkan regions.
“The reason the meetings are being decentralised is that it would allow all volunteers to be present and voice their opinion. Once the meetings are over, we will finalise our plans for the Assembly polls,” Damania added.