Punjab 2017

Kejriwal’s ambition to launch himself as national leader takes a blow

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal along with party leaders during a working-lunch meeting at his residence in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty

With early trends making it evident that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was heading for defeat in the Punjab Assembly polls, political observers believe that party supremo Arvind Kejriwal’s prospect to launch himself in 2019 as a national leader has taken a blow.

Even as Mr. Kejriwal reacted to the election results by saying that AAP respects people’s verdict and that “the struggle will continue”, the Congress party’s chief ministerial candidate Capt. Amarinder Singh termed “AAP as a fair weather storm, which was now over.”

In this election, political leadership deficit and absence of a transformational agenda has hit the AAP, pointed out Pramod Kumar, Director at the Institute for Development and Communication, Chandigarh, saying: “AAP’s prospects of spreading it’s foothold nationally and Mr. Kejriwal’s chances of projecting himself as a national leader have taken a beating after these results. Lesson for AAP from Punjab is that politics cannot be done non-seriously. The celebrity-centred politics can get you crowds but it may not get you votes.”

“In the absence of local leadership in AAP people have possibly favoured the Congress, which had announced Capt. Amarinder Singh as it chief ministerial candidate. Mr. Kejriwal steered AAP’s campaign but it seems people desired “local face”. Also, the perception that was developed among the people (after Sucha Singh Chhotepur) episode - that AAP is being run by a “remote” from Delhi seems to have cost them,” he added.

Notably, Punjab politics has traditionally been dominated by the two political parties, the ruling Akali-BJP combine and the Congress party. However, in 2014 parliamentary elections, the AAP won 4 out of 13 seats and a 24% vote share in Punjab, establishing itself as a third force in the State politics.

“With AAP garnering 24% vote share in the 2014 parliamentary elections, it should have at least won 33 seats in these Assembly polls, but if it’s not happening then it means they have gone down from 2014 position,” added Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:29:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-2017/kejriwals-ambition-to-launch-himself-as-national-leader-takes-a-blow/article17447863.ece

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