Victory lap over, the Aam Aadmi Party leadership went into a huddle Thursday to analyse its losses in the polls.
The party swept the state elections, winning 62 out of 70 seats. The eight seats it lost are five more than that in 2015.
Two areas where the performance came as a surprise to the party are its losses in East Delhi — Laxmi Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, Gandhi Nagar — and North East Delhi — Rohtas Nagar, Karawal Nagar and Ghonda. Karawal Nagar came as a shock as, according to the party, the candidate, Durgesh Pathak, was popular and had significant organisational experience.
In other seats in East Delhi too, the winning vote share has shrunk. In Patparganj, for example, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had a winning margin of 3,207 as opposed to 28,791 in 2015. In Kondli, the winning margin shrunk from 24,759 in 2015 to 17,907 this time.
In Vishwas Nagar, which was one of the three seats BJP had won in 2015 as well, their candidate O P Sharma’s winning margin increased, from 10,158 in 2015 to 16,457 this time.
“Polarisation was the main reason behind the loss in these two areas, we believe. The whole of Delhi accepted our poll pitch, but BJP’s vicious campaign had a stronger effect here. The population in these areas seems to have accepted their message more easily. In Karawal Nagar, for example, two prominent anti-CAA protests started a few days before polls — in Khajuri Khas and Chand Bagh. This polarised voters, giving a last-minute fillip to BJP,” said a senior leader, who did not want to be named.
Another leader said that in the last phase of campaigning at Patparganj, BJP had spread a video of Sisodia telling a news channel that he stood with Shaheen Bagh protesters.
“When we went out to campaign, people would be ready with their phones, asking us to explain the statement. This was the level of polarisation in the area,” the leader said.
In a statement issued Thursday, AAP said that party convener Arvind Kejriwal had asked all leaders to continue working in the areas they lost.
“He told them to understand the problems that people face and resolve them promptly. He suggested to establish closer relationship with the public… In the meeting, leaders discussed the loss despite the work done by the government. Also, a discussion on seats where the margin of defeat was low was held. Laxmi Nagar is one such seat where the margin was a little over 800 votes,” it said.
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