Despite an ambitious debut campaign pitching 39 candidates in Goa, the Aam Aadmi Party has failed to win even a single seat in the state Assembly, as of 3 pm on Saturday. Counting for the February 4, 2017, elections began at 8 am. Goa had reported a record 83% voter turnout for the polls.
Election Commission data said the party had drawn 55,553 votes, which accounted for 6.2% of the votes cast, as of 6 pm on Saturday.
AAP’s chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes, a former bureacrat, trails at fourth place in his constituency in Cuncolim. The party was hoping Gomes’ “clean candidate image” would help it make an inroad in the coastal state’s political scenario. In the run up to the elections, however, Gomes had been summoned by the anti-corruption bureau. Denying the charges levelled against him, Gomes and his party had accused the ruling BJP of targeting him.
Together with several new faces across the state, the party’s campaign had included efforts by volunteers from across the country.
Speculation that the party would eat into the Congress’ stake in their stronghold of South Goa was unfounded. Analysts had predicted that the “Catholic vote”, which is traditionally pro-Congress, would be splintered four ways – between the Congress, BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and smaller regional parties.
The Aam Aadmi Party had fielded 15 Catholic candidates, including its chief ministerial nominee.
Even the exit polls were kinder to AAP, projecting at least a few seats in its kitty. MRC said the party would draw at least seven seats. While predicting a lead for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, C-Voter forecasted at least two to four wins. Axis showed BJP would win 20 seats, Congress 11, and AAP only 1 seat.
The party’s convener and Delhi Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal was a star campaigner in the state. The run-up to the election was marked by the Election Commission’s order for an FIR to be filed against Kejriwal. The AAP leader’s statement encouraging voters to accept bribes from other parties. “But when it comes to voting, press the button against the name of the AAP candidate,” he had said.
Kejriwal had argued that his remarks were meant to curb graft and asked the poll panel to review its order. He even questioned the commission’s decision to issue only a notice to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on similar charges.
On January 22, he had said that the Election Commission should make him its brand ambassador. He claimed the EC had been unable to curb bribery and money power in elections.