NOTA was more popular than the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates in the 2017 Assembly elections. In fact, in all of the 29 seats (except two) that the party contested, NOTA polled the third highest votes after Congress and BJP.The AAP candidates also continued the party’s trend of losing their deposits. It should be noted that all the candidates of AAP had lost their deposit in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. That was the first time the AAP had contested in the polls in Gujarat.In fact in the 2017 elections, except for eight seats, the party got votes in three digits in the rest of the seats it contested.It can take solace from the fact that in Katargam and Bapunagar its candidates came third.In places like Chhota Udepur, the AAP unwittingly cut into the leading parties votes. Congress won Chhota Udepur with a slim margin of 1093 votes. It should be noted that the party had been called the BJP’s B-team after it put up candidates in seats where the winning margin was slim. At that time it was believed that AAP candidates would cut into the anti-BJP’s votes. In Chhota Udepur, it seems the AAP and another independent ended up helping the Congress.On the party’s poor performance, Harshil Nayak, spokesperson for the AAP said that the votes polled by the candidates have come as a shocker. “We were not expecting to poll such low number of votes. In fact, in places like Kamrej we had set up a helpline asking people to give us missed calls to let us know if they supported us and we had got 11,000 calls,” said Nayak. The party won 1454 votes in Kamrej.It should be noted that before going to polls, the party had claimed that it would concentrate its energy on 10 seats where it was likely to get good response. It fared poorly in most of the 10 seats.
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