Kejriwal, the rower of AAP’s boat, did not even get any sympathy

The Uncut

New Delhi: After coming out of Tihar Jail on interim bail on May 10, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal campaigned vigorously in the scorching heat and drew huge crowds in rallies and road shows but his efforts could not ensure victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the national capital.

In an attempt to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Kejriwal campaigned not only for AAP candidates but also for candidates of the allies in the Indian National Democratic Inclusive Alliance (INDIA).

Apart from Delhi, he also visited states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. But the huge crowds that gathered in his rallies could not be converted into votes and Delhi AAP had to face a crushing defeat at the hands of BJP.

In Punjab, AAP contested 13 seats but managed to win only three seats. Its ally in Delhi, Congress, put a brake on its chances of winning in Punjab and won seven seats.

AAP had contested a total of 22 seats across the country, including 13 in Punjab, four in Delhi, two in Gujarat, two in Assam and one in Haryana. But the party could not win even a single seat in Gujarat, Haryana, Delhi and Assam.

Kejriwal was arrested on May 21. His arrest affected AAP’s election campaign. Decisions on the party’s manifesto, election fighting strategy and people-to-people activities were delayed.

However, in Kejriwal’s absence, his wife Sunita Kejriwal did try to take the lead. After coming out on interim bail, Kejriwal wasted no time in jumping into the election campaign with full vigour and infused new energy into the party’s campaign, his party leaders said.

In his first address to party workers and leaders after coming out of jail, Kejriwal had taken a dig at the BJP, saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking votes for his “successor” Union Home Minister Amit Shah because Modi will “retire” at the age of 75.

The party leaders regrouped and launched the ‘Jail ka Jawaab Vote Se’ campaign, under which its senior leaders led several public meetings, launched signature campaigns and other activities to garner support.

AAP was hoping that Kejriwal’s arrest would generate sympathy among the people and it would work in the party’s favour, but apparently it did not happen. In Delhi, Haryana and Chandigarh, his party contested the elections in alliance with the Congress, but there was no consensus in Punjab. This election was important for Kejriwal and AAP in this sense because this was the first Lok Sabha election of AAP after getting the status of a national party.

Kejriwal formed the AAP government in Delhi for the first time in 2013 with outside support from the Congress. But this government lasted only 49 days, as Kejriwal resigned after failing to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed in the Delhi Assembly.

AAP won a landslide victory in the 2015 and 2020 Delhi Assembly elections but has not had any success in the Lok Sabha elections till date.

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