The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has said that the recently concluded Lok Sabha election was a battle between Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"We spoke with the AAP candidates on the results of Lok Sabha elections in Delhi. We came to a conclusion that we were not successful in creating awareness on Delhi's statehood issue among the masses because of the Modi vs Rahul factor in the polls. Delhi followed that trend," Cabinet Minister Gopal Rai told reporters at a press conference here on Friday.
AAP, which is running the government in Delhi, slipped down to the third position with a vote share of a little over 18 per cent, while BJP got over 56 per cent and Congress over 22 per cent in the general elections.
BJP won all seven seats in Delhi, not only repeating the 2014 feat but also bettered its vote share by nearly 10 per cent.
AAP finished third in five of the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi. Though it failed to open its account in the 2014 polls, it had come second in all the seven seats.
Three of the party's candidates, Brijesh Goyal, Dilip Pandey and Pankaj Gupta, lost their deposits after getting less than 16.66 per cent of votes.
Rai said that the party focused more on Delhi statehood issue and the candidates worked very hard in the general elections.
"We respect the people's mandate. Our candidates worked very hard in the elections. Our entire campaign was based on Delhi statehood issue. Our party workers campaigned door-to-door and did their job diligently," Rai, who is also AAP's Delhi convenor said.
"We will fight to resolve our issues in the Parliament. We believed that when our candidates get elected to the Lok Sabha, they would raise the problems of ours and the people of Delhi," he added.
Expressing disappointment over AAP's performance at the national level, Rai underlined that most of the votes were cast either for BJP and Congress.
In this year's general elections, AAP had won a sole parliamentary seat in Sangrur where Bhagwant Singh Mann had defeated his Congress rival Kewal Singh Dhillon. It had won four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in 2014.
Rai informed that Delhi Chief Minister and AAP national convenor Arvind Kejriwal will hold a meeting with party workers at Punjabi Bagh Club on Sunday.
"We would introspect the loss in the Lok Sabha elections and chalk out a strategy for the Assembly elections next year," he said.
The senior party leader said that AAP would focus on development plank in the Assembly polls and added that projects which were halted due to the Model Code of Conduct will be resumed soon.
In 2015 Assembly elections, AAP had swept the polls winning 67 out of 70 seats while the BJP was reduced to just three seats. Congress failed to open its account.