In the recently concluded Punjab elections, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) was predicted to win at least 45 seats but ended up winning 20 seats. It even garnered a lower vote share of 23.7 per cent than that was expected after exit polls – around 34 per cent.
Unlike AAP, Congress managed to win as many seats as was indicated in the exit polls and even more. It was set to win around 50 seats but went on to grab 77 seats.
“There was no leadership. AAP was solely relying on Kejriwal. Bagwant Mann and Gurpreet Gughi were ex-comedians – their party is full of comedians. Also, many prominent leaders quit – between February last year and this year – and joined Akali Dal or Congress. There wasn’t a single person people could rely on,” said Jaspreet Singh, a 24-year-old resident of Pathankot in Punjab.
The exit polls showed that both Congress and AAP were supposed to win nearly 50 seats each. If leadership was the question between the two parties said to win majority, then Amrinder Singh made the difference.
“Amrinder Singh in himself is a brand. If there was no Amrinder Singh, the congress would have lost. No one cares for Rahul Gandhi in Punjab. Even Navjot Singh Sidhu was set to join AAP but he joined Congress instead – that was also a big blow to AAP,” said Jaspreet Singh.
Yogendra Yadav, who was unceremoniously sent out of AAP, had urged the voters in Punjab to vote against AAP, Congress, or SAD-BJP alliance, saying, “Punjab needs to opt for alternative small outfits or honest independents so that the hope for change is kept alive. For example the small forum backed by MP Dharamvira Gandhi or Sucha Singh Chotepur’s party (APP).” (PTI)
However, these smaller outfits and independents did not win a single seat, with major parties Congress, AAP, and SAD-BJP taking away 115 seats – Congress (77), AAP (20), and SAD-BJP (18).
“But, AAP still managed to win more seats than Akali Dal. That too in their first assembly elections Punjab. It is an achievement to win more seats than Akali Dal against the oldest party in Punjab. AAP was started in 2012-13 and entered Punjab only in 2014,” said Jaspreet Singh.
The Akali Dal-BJP faced arguments that predicted their rout in Punjab – anti-incumbency being the major reason. Exit polls said that the alliance would win not more than 10 seats. SAD-BJP combine won just 18 seats.