KOCHI: It was with much expectations that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched its political stint in Kerala by fielding high-profile candidates like writer Sara Joseph, journalist Anita Pratap and former IPS officer Ajit Joy in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But the electoral fortunes of the party remained a distant dream and will continue to be so in Kerala in the near future with the party deciding not to contest in any of the 20 LS seats in the 2019 April general elections.
Though the people of the state speak volumes on anti-corruption, development and electoral politics, the AAP could not so far make an impact on the Malayalee psyche who alternated with fronts led by the CPM and the Congress in the polls.
However, the AAP’s decision not to contest the Lok Sabha polls this time has come as a surprise as three of its major candidates had garnered a considerable number of votes in the debut itself. While Sara Joseph secured 44,638 votes in Thrissur, Anita Pratap got 51,517 votes in Ernakulam and Ajit Joy 14,153 votes in Thiruvananthapuram.
The party even had some good takes when its candidate Tomy Elassery defeated Congress candidate Easappan in Cherthala South grama panchayat elections in Alappuzha district in 2015 and the party’s student wing CYSS defeated SFI in student elections in Areekode College in Malappuram in 2017.
“The party has decided to contest only in four states this general election. We will be contesting in Haryana, Punjab, Delhi and Goa. The national council decided not to contest in Kerala because the party doesn’t want to split votes unnecessarily,” said C R Neelakandan, state convener of AAP in Kerala since January 2016.
But the AAP has weaved out a strategy of its own to counter its political opponents, mainly the BJP. “We have 3,000 registered volunteers and each of them will undertake a campaign against the BJP,” Neelakandan said, adding that the party will even extend support to a candidate if an exceptional situation arises. “There are exceptions. If we feel like supporting a candidate, then we will do it,” he said.