SANGRUR/FARIDKOT: If there was a Modi wave across the country in 2014, there was another wave that remained unnoticed till the results were declared – the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as a formidable force in Punjab and the party winning four Lok Sabha seats in the state. Five years down the line, people say “jhadu ke tinke-tinke ho gaye” while referring to several leaders leaving it and forming new political outfits.
“Jhadu (broom is AAP’s election symbol) ka tinka tinka (broom sticks) alag ho gaya. Jhadu safai karne aaya tha, khud hi saaf ho gaya (They came here to clean the system but got wiped out themselves),” says Balbir Singh, 87, a retired Punjab government employee in Fatehgarh Sahib, who had voted for the party in 2014.
People in Punjab remember the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party in the state as an alternative to two traditional parties — Congress and the combine of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and BJP. But the downfall of this new party in Punjab’s political map came as quick as its rise.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, AAP had won four seats in the Malwa region — Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Faridkot, and Patiala — securing 24.4% of the total votes polled. But it soon had a fall out with two of the four parliamentarians.
In 2017, during the Punjab Assembly elections, the party’s vote share decreased to 23.9% and it only won 20 of the 117 seats even though it was expecting to make significant in-roads.
Two years down the line, seven of the 20 legislators have already left the Aam Aadmi Party.
The entire AAP movement in Punjab has received regular setbacks as many party workers along with leaders have either joined the Congress or SAD in the state or joined new political outfits.
To make matters worse, the rebel AAP leaders are contesting from all 13 constituencies in the state. But what would hurt them the most is the rebel Aam Aadmi Party candidates in four seats that it had won in 2014.