ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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AAP at the Crossroads

Futile tactical approaches to governance and failure to build on its success in Delhi have hurt AAP.

Expectations that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) would continue to build upon its early promise have been dashed. In the 16th Lok Sabha elections, the party fielded candidates in nearly 430 constituencies, but managed to win only four seats, these in Punjab, barely making a dent elsewhere. Most of its leading activists and prominent figures – who got ample media coverage for spearheading the anti-corruption campaign – lost badly in the elections. Following such disappointing results, AAP has been further bruised by desertions.

The foremost reasons for the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections have much to do with AAP’s tactical errors and the choices made since the Delhi state assembly elections of December 2013. After showing an initial reluctance to form a government in the union territory of Delhi, AAP decided to take the reins in January 2014 with support from the Congress Party. The short-lived government, which survived for a mere 49 days, introduced a few popular policy measures apart from seeking to bring law and order under the control of the provincial government. Some of the policy measures were not necessarily well thought out; yet, the power subsidy and lowered tariff rates for water – including the provision of free water supply for a limited quantity – were well received. The party, despite not having a clear majority in the assembly, tried to pass its version of a Lokayukta Bill that sought to create an independent ombudsman for the union territory.

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