As the votes got counted and the results by 11 am indicated a drubbing for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Goa and Punjab, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal shut himself up in his room.
The Punjab election result is out. The Congress has swept Punjab with 77 seats, followed by AAP winning 23 and Shiromani Akali Dal getting 16 seats. The sprawling residence of Delhi Chief Minister at 6, Flagstaff Road, bedecked with flowers and balloons a day before wears a deserted look. At the party office too, the mood is unmistakably somber.
“The party was prepared for a nationwide celebration. Crackers, rallies, sweets, dhol and roadshows were planned. We were asked to prepare for a celebration like never before. We had never imagined such a dismal show,” says a party member.
Agreeing it is time for introspection, insiders say that the AAP had sensed the defeat a week before the elections.
“The numbers started to change by 9:30 am. We knew that the party is not going to win now. But at least we didn’t feature third as the Akalis,” said a party leader. “Once the result was clear, Arvind asked everyone to leave the room and leave him alone. All the senior leaders of the party present there were asked to leave. That’s a practice whenever he is angry,” the leader added. “The party is in a state of shock.”
All is not well between the party’s Punjab-unit too. Kejriwal and Durgesh Pathak, party’s organisation-building head for Punjab, have not been talking over a week.
“Pathak was given the task of working on Punjab two years ago. But Pathak misled him about the ground reality of the state, even about the vote prediction. Kejriwal has not been talking to him for a week now,” said a leader. Moreover, the party workers in Punjab are highly disgruntled with the party’s performance.
A party leader said: “The party conducted a good election campaign, but failed to work on the ground. In fact, they did not even have the voter list of each constituency till about three days before the polling day, a practice that is done almost a month ago.”