The ruling AAP had earlier said it was confident of winning all 13 seats in the civic bypolls, but finally managed to win only five. The party had started from scratch in the municipal elections and it was “sheer stupidity” to compare its performance to other elections.convenor of the party’s Delhi unit Dilip Pandey tells The Indian Express.
You said you expected to win a few more seats. What went wrong?
Nothing went wrong. We started from zero and stand as the largest party in the bypolls. Some people are comparing the municipal polls with the party’s performance in the assembly and parliamentary elections and that is sheer stupidity. … The bypolls should be seen in the right perspective. In 2013, when we started out, we got just 28 seats in the assembly elections and in 2015 we came back to power, winning 67 out of 70 seats. We should not be dismissed like this.
Do you think the decline in your voteshare is a verdict on the AAP’s governance?
The work of legislators does not decide the result of municipal polls. The Congress had been in power in Delhi for years but BJP dominated the corporations. In Rahul Gandhi’s constituency Amethi, Congress lost the local body polls and so did BJP in Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi… The BJP and the Congress have reasons to worry. The BJP had full control over the corporations and their seats have shrunk.
Will you approach the municipal polls next year with a different strategy?
For us, this was a learning experience. What we really take away from the bypolls is that in such elections, what matters most is the ‘person’ and ‘proximity’. The person, that is the candidate, has to have a good record and he or she should be in close proximity with the people. In the next election, getting these two things absolutely right will be our strategy. I am confident we will win all 272 seats in the municipal corporation election next year. History will repeat itself.
How will the new party councillors set the tone for the party?
It is an opportunity for us to bring some change… we have to set an example so that next time when we go for polls, we can say ‘this is what we did and this is what they did.’ The psychology of the voter is very different while electing councillors… the voter must have thought ‘what is the point in voting for them when they will be in such a minority’… instead, people are thinking it will make sense to give AAP full control of the corporations in next year’s election. We must all watch out for the municipal polls next year.