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Over even before it had begun: How AAP’s Himachal campaign panned out

The state unit could not recover from the arrest of the party's Himachal in-charge and Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain by the ED, forfeited deposits in all 67 seats it fought

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann during a rally in Mandi district, Himachal Pradesh. (Express Photo)
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The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) paid a heavy price by shifting its focus from Himachal to Gujarat in the Assembly elections. All its 67 candidates forfeited their security deposits as they lost without making any impact in any of the seats. Only Manish Thakur, who contested from Paonta Sahib in Sirmour district, was able to get over 5,000 votes, the highest among all 67 AAP candidates.

Rajan Sushant, who was considered a heavyweight of the party, could not even get 1,500 votes in Fatehpur constituency. Harmel Dhiman from Kasauli and Dharam Pal Chauhan from Nalagarh too got less than 1,500 votes.

After the landslide victory in Punjab, AAP had entered Himachal to contest the Vidhan Sabha elections and had announced it would contest in all 68 constituencies. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia did roadshows in Mandi, Kangra and other places, and initially got good response from the people of Himachal.

Then, the party’s Himachal in-charge and Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain was arrested by the ED. It was a big jolt to AAP’s Himachal hopes, from which it could not recover and consolidate on the ground.

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As a result, party candidates did not get much support from the high command, whose focus had by then shifted to Gujarat. The candidates did not even get any financial or other assistance from their high command during the elections.

State party president Surjeet Singh Thakur said it was the first election of the party, in which, results were as expected, barring the vote share, which they had hoped would be higher. He said the party will now prepare for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

First published on: 08-12-2022 at 18:40 IST
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