Punjab 2017 for AAP: It’s a comma, not a full-stop

The Delhi 2013 elections were perhaps the most exciting elections in the life of most AAP supporters. For many of us, they were the first elections that we had followed in our lives. We celebrated the victory and believed that we had arrived and change was finally here. However, we soon realized that politics is ugly and bringing change was not going to be so easy.

The 2014 debacle followed soon after. I wrote then that despite the loss we had gained a lot. We gained vote share in Delhi, we got a second state in Punjab and even in Varanasi we gathered 2 lakh votes and showed that we had it in us to fight the big battles. But there was definitely gloom all around. I remember how disappointed I was that day – even 3-4 seats (out of 7) in Delhi may have been good enough to change the mood but that 0 was disappointing. The media had already written our obituary. But as Kumar Vishwas tells us later, after a depressing conversation he had with Arvind regarding the 2014 results, Arvind ended it by saying “Sirji, ishwar hai, hum satya ke saath hai, hum ladayi ladenge, hum jeetenge”.

Arvind along with all AAP volunteers fought back and how! The Delhi 2015 result was due to the hard work put in by all the leaders and the volunteers. No one predicted the magnitude of that victory. It was the first big loss for Narendra Modi after 2014 and it showed everyone that AAP was still a force to reckon with. AAP supporters rejoiced for a few days but in a matter of weeks we were hit again by an internal feud.

And now here we are. After the roller-coaster ride of the last 4 years, AAP is once again at a low due to this defeat in Punjab. By all conventional standards, this is a brilliant performance by a debutant. To become the second largest party and push SAD-BJP to 3rd position is no small feat. We fought a valiant battle but were let down by our own high expectations. Since AAP has emerged from a movement and most of it’s leaders have been activists, we do not look at politics in the traditional sense. We do not fight “the first election to lose, the second to defeat and the third to win”. We fight to win and win big. Delhi 2013 and 2015 have set the bar so high that it just became impossible to live up to the expectations in Punjab.

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There is a lot to introspect when it comes to Punjab. It starts from the way YY/PB were kicked out to how the Punjab state leadership was dealt with. Questions will be asked on whether Sanjay Singh and Durgesh Pathak knew what they were doing and were giving the right picture to Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind himself has to introspect on how much anti-Modi is acceptable. Modi is no saint and deserves to be opposed but people get tired of the same language day in day out. People will vote for change but change is not limited to bringing down Modi. The result of UP shows that Modi is too tall a leader to be challenged in this manner. The worst part about this loss in Punjab is that we do not have a full state to showcase our work.

Having said that, all is not lost. We have a government in a state with 67/70 seats. We will be leaders of opposition in Punjab with 24% vote share. We will have 6+% vote share in Goa. We have Lok Sabha MPs and will have Rajya Sabha MPs in 2018. MCD elections are coming up and despite Punjab, we should still be able to do well. Gujarat and other states in 2018 are awaiting us if we chose to fight them and provide a vision for change and development. People still look up to us as the principle opposition to the BJP and Modi; Congress is nowhere close to revival. We are still performing relatively well in Delhi despite all odds.

And dear Arvind, I still trust you. I know it’s not easy to be Arvind Kejriwal in today’s India. You get a lot of hate. But I assure you that you have supporters like me who love you to death. Some people may call it blind faith but to me politics needs you to pick a side. You can’t sit on the outside and praise and criticize every leader/party. Sure, one should have the spirit to correct one’s own leader but when you have an elected leader, you have to stand by him in the fight. And Arvind, I am with you! संघर्ष जारी रहेगा|