Arvind Kejriwal has spent more time in Punjab than any other state ever since the beginning of the year. Initially, there truly was a surge in his party’s popularity but it has faded.
While he & his ardent supporters in the media claim that AAP will get more than 100 seats out of the 117-seat assembly, today the situation is such that AAP will most probably fail to even cross the 50 mark. In fact in a survey conducted in November by 5Forty3 (one of the best in India) AAP is getting just 19 seats with a deviation of 6 seats both ways.
Here are the reasons for the sudden dip in his popularity –
- Politics of Drama –
This isn’t new to Kejriwal or his party, but the extent & audacity of drama took new heights when AAP compared its manifesto to the Guru Granth Sahib. Then, Kejriwal went to the Golden Temple & washed dishes that were already clean. These pathetic & brash attempts to gain votes weren’t appreciated by the locals.
- The Sidhu Factor
Navjot Singh Sidhu quit BJP & talks had that he would join AAP. Media was abuzz with the news & Kejriwal was delighted that a major leader of the BJP had defected to his party before the elections. What went on behind closed doors is not known to many, but eventually Sidhu didn’t join AAP & lashed out Kejriwal in the media saying he’s a ‘dictator’ who doesn’t listen to others. This pricked Kejriwal’s inflated ego & people began doubting whether the true intent of the man was gaining power or working for Punjab.
- Questioning Surgical Strikes –
This was a major blunder by Kejriwal. Punjab is a state which is affected by Pakistan-sponsored terrorism & also gives many soldiers to the Indian Army. Finding a family without any link to the armed forces in Punjab would be an uphill task. If you go about questioning the very integrity of the soldiers then you’re bound to pay a price in a state like Punjab. In a survey conducted by 5Forty3 in Punjab & UP –
Stats worth noting are – In Punjab 81% people knew about the surgical strikes. In the two states 53% respondents thought Kejriwal’s questioning was ‘anti-national’ & 26% said he is a ‘Pakistani hero’ – which is a whopping 79% strongly against Kejriwal’s comments!
Also 8 out of 10 Sikhs approved of the strikes ‘overwhelmingly’. Although this is more to impact a General Election, but questioning the authenticity of the word of the army is something which people take serious offence to.
- Poor Turnout at Farmer Rallies –
AAP has been protesting against the Punjab government over delays in payment to farmers. It has been conducting rallies to highlight this & making its own electoral promises like ‘loan-waiver’ forms. But these rallies have been receiving poor attendance to say the least. One such rally was held in Jalandhar. The AAP zonal observer Rajeev Chaudhary had especially sent messages to all party members & asked them to attend the meets in their respective areas. But only a few party leaders turned up & there was almost nil volunteer participation. In Nawanshahr & Hoshiaropur the turnout was a mere 35-40 people! Same dull response was also seen in Kapurthala. Without the support of farmers AAP cannot hope to win the state.
- Funding Crisis –
The most recent & probably the most serious of blows to the party was the demonetisation. Because of this AAP has decided not to contest BMC polls next year as well. The sudden cash crunch is being felt by the party. Ironically this is the same party lead by the same man who made all the noises to portray himself as the most honest politician in the country, yet he seems to be suffering the most due to this anti-black money move. His opposing demonetisation will not only leave him with very low cash to fight the Punjab elections with, but it also put doubts in the minds of the voters as to whether he truly is the ‘corruption crusader’ he claims to be.
CREDIT: All Analysis and ground work was performed psephologist Dr Pravee Patil: http://5forty3.in/