Bawana bypoll win: AAP gets a spring in its step
August's Bawana bypoll win seems to have revived AAP. The party has been on a roll with MLAs demanding that Lt Governor Anil Baijal release the mohalla clinic file, for neighborhood health care centres, by sitting outside his house. AAP also announced its intention of contesting the Gujarat Assembly elections. What prompted this revival and are there any lessons learnt? Read on to know.
Subsequent defeats may have affected morale
In 2017, AAP suffered subsequent defeats that might've affected party's morale. In Punjab polls, it bagged 20 seats; in Malwa, where all seats were expected, it won 18 of 69 seats. In Goa polls, it won no seat. Major setbacks were the Rajouri Garden bypoll, where it lost with poll share dropping from 47% (2015) to 13.1%, and Delhi's Municipal polls, where BJP won.
AAP also faced attack from its own people
AAP experienced attacks from its own members. Kapil Mishra, AAP government's cabinet minister who was removed from his post for "poor water management," leveled corruption allegations against Kejriwal. He was suspended. Kumar Vishwas, AAP's founding member, contradicted the party's position. After Delhi MCD elections, he refuted the party's position that Electronic voting machines were faulty and said that AAP needed to "reconnect with people."
The hotly contested Bawana bypoll
Winning the Bawana bypoll was a matter of prestige for AAP. Apart from retaining its seat, AAP had to win against its own dissident Ved Prakash, who had vacated the Bawana seat. AAP's candidate Ram Chander defeated BJP's Ved Prakash by over 24,000 votes.
Did the bypoll win prompt AAP's revival?
The party, after the poll defeats and dissidence, became subdued with Kejriwal phasing down his attack on opposition and cadres becoming inactive. However, the bypoll seems to have infused a new life as AAP has been attacking RSS-BJP over demonetization by asking people to "change PM, not notes" and over senior journalist Gauri Lankesh's murder calling it no "routine murder."
Meanwhile, has AAP changed its strategy for contesting in Gujarat?
After poll debacles, it is reported that AAP may have made a few corrections for Gujarat polls. In Punjab and Goa, steep targets were their undoing; thus, this time, targets are realistic, focusing on winnable seats. Instead of a year-long campaign like Punjab, they will do a 3-month campaign. Further, basic methods of "door-to-door campaigning and booth-level management," will be used.
So, what does AAP's future appear to be?
Bawana bypolls win seems to have boosted AAP's morale. Richa Mishra, AAP's women wing president said, "There is a positive vibe among party workers" and they feel "motivated after the win." Whether this enthusiasm translates to votes in Gujarat remains to be seen.