Shimla, December 8
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) which contested the assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh for the first time drew a blank securing just 1.10 per cent of the total votes cast.
The poor performance of AAP dashed its hope of emerging as a strong third force in the state to challenge the hegemony of BJP and Congress, which have been alternately ruling the state for almost four decades.
AAP which mounted its campaign on a high note a month before the November 12 elections with party convener Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann holding rallies and road shows failed to maintain the tempo till the end as the top party leadership shifted focus to Gujarat.
Absence of a mass leader demoralised the workers and arrest of Satyendar Jain and raids on the premises of Manish Sisodia further dampened the spirits of the candidates.
The party fielded candidates on 67 out of 68 seats – the exception being Darang assembly constituency - but maintained silence on its Chief Minister face, with no tall leader in the state to carry on the campaign.
"We were expecting to perform well in Paonta Sahib, Indora, and Nalagarh but the results were not favourable. We have just started and there is a long way to go. This is our first election and not the last election," AAP state President Surjit Singh Thakur told the PTI.
He said that the organisation will be strengthened in the state.
None of the much talked about AAP candidates manage to secure a win, including four times MLA and former MP Rajan Sushant, former BJP leader Harmel Dhiman from Kasauli, Manish Thakur from Paonta Sahib, former Congress leader Dharam Pal Chauhan from Solan, and country's youngest sarpanch Jabna Chauhan from Nachan.
In the run up to the campaign, the party had made several promises and came out openly in support of restoration of the Old Pension Scheme for employees in the government sector.
It had also given six guarantees to the voters which were free electricity, a ‘Samman Rashi' of Rs 1,000 to women, jobs for youths, quality education and health facilities, and improvement in rural infrastructure.
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