Is AAP's honeymoon period over? Back to back losses should be a reality check for Arvind Kejriwal

Despite losing Rajouri bypoll on Thursday, the AAP is confident of winning the upcoming MCD elections in Delhi

It was in 2013 that the Aam Aadmi Party made a thunderous entry into the political arena by winning the Delhi assembly elections. AAP’s image of a corruption-free Delhi gave a much-needed alternative to the people of the national capital who were tired of graft allegations against the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But despite coming to power, the party could not shed its image of political activism. Party chief Arvind Kejriwal along with his party leaders was often seen sitting on protests. Sometimes near Parliament, other times blocking roads fighting the Central government seeking more powers for the state government. Brazenly, Arvind Kejriwal disregarded the faith that people of Delhi had shown in him and stepped down as the Chief Minister in just 49 days.

But he came back stronger and with the support of 67 MLAs in a 70-member house as the Chief Minister of Delhi. On February 10, 2015, Kejriwal and company did what no one had imagined they would do. Arvind Kejriwal came back with the support of the entire Delhi – from auto wallahs to the who’s who of the national capital.

In over two years since the election, his fight with the Central government over more power has continued. But learning from his past mistakes, Kejriwal didn’t vacate his post again. His fight has not just been with the Central government as a whole but with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in individual capacity too. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Kejriwal contested from Varanasi giving a direct fight to the then prime ministerial candidate of the BJP. Modi won, Kejriwal lost. But the Delhi CM continued to fight with the BJP, in one way or the other.

In the recently held assembly elections, the Delhi CM had nearly moved his base to Punjab to defeat the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP combine. For over months, AAP campaigned in the state against the drug peddling and highlighting the corruption in the state ruled by the SAD-BJP government. The AAP was very confident that Punjab will fall in their kitty. Congress, however, had different plans. Experience counted and Congress veteran Amarinder Singh single-handedly won Punjab for the party. Arvind Kejriwal lost!

In Goa, AAP’s confidence was praise-worthy. The party had put up congratulatory posters in the state even before the election results were announced. On the counting day, the numbers only backed the Congress and the BJP and in the end, it was Manohar Parrikar who took oath as the Chief Minister of the state and AAP could not win even a single seat. Arvind Kejriwal lost again!

Despite the losses, AAP at least remained confident of its stand in Delhi. But on Thursday, the party took a huge hit there as well. AAP, the ruling party in Delhi, not just lost the Rajouri Garden bypoll, the AAP candidate even lost his security deposit. Conceding defeat, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that moving former Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh to Punjab angered voters in the North West Delhi constituency.

Who would have thought that a party which came to power just two years back with such a resounding victory would not even be able to save its security deposit in a bypoll in Delhi?

However, all is not lost yet. The elections to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) will be held in just a few days. The party is campaigning ferociously. Despite Thursday’s loss, Sisodia said that the party was confident of winning the civic polls in Delhi. Will they be proved right or will this be just another signal that the honeymoon period of Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi government is over? Let’s wait and watch.