In the 2015 and 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly elections, the AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) won 67 out of 70 and 62 out of 70 seats respectively. It is a landslide victory. However, during the same periods, in the 2014 and 2019 Parliamentary elections, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) won all 7 parliamentary seats in Delhi. If polls are to be trusted, the same will probably happen in 2024.

It seems a significant portion of Delhi people want AAP in power but only in the Delhi legislative assembly. What can be the possible reason for that?

  • 1
    Please spell out the acronym AAP and BJP at least once. All three letter acronyms stand for multiple things and a reader just getting up to speed on the relevant issues shouldn't have to do that work when you can easily supply the information. A brief mention of the agenda/policies/coalition that each party is involved in would also be appropriate. Also, it isn't clear what you mean by "local elections". Do you really mean state elections, or do you actually mean state government elections? And, in turn, by "general elections" do you mean national government elections?
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 25 at 22:57
  • It would also be preferred, although not required, if you could link to sources for the election outcomes and for the 2024 polling.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Apr 25 at 22:58

2 Answers 2


This would seem to be an extreme case of the situation that often occurs in countries that use first past the post.

In FPTP, votes for third and alternative parties are often "wasted" in national elections. The AAP is perceived to have no possibility of winning nationwide, and so voters will tactically vote for one of the two main parties. On the other hand, in the local election, the AAP is one of the main parties.

A similar effect (though less strong) is sometimes seen in the UK, in which the Liberal Democratic party can win local council elections, but lose the same district in the general election to Labour or the Conservative parties, due to tactical voting.

This can create a cycle. Supporters of the AAP vote believe it has "no chance of winning nationally" and so vote for the BJP or INC, which means that the AAP gets fewer votes in the general election, which feeds the perception that the AAP has no chance of winning.


The reasons are simple:

  1. The AAP is still perceived by the general public as a regional party.
    And regional parties historically find it difficult to compete against national parties in Parliamentary elections. Even though, technically, AAP has the status of a national party due to its electoral victory in 2 states (Delhi and Punjab) and increased votes share in the neighbouring states of Delhi, it's voterbase is still confined to the Northern regions of India. Even the BJP, which hasn't been able to make much in-roads in the Southern part of India, has a more dominating presence in North, West and Eastern parts of India. And despite its fading electoral victories, the Indian National Congress still retains a truly pan-India presence in terms of voter share - AAP has a long way to go before it can match these 2 big parties.

  2. Before the rise of AAP in Delhi, the BJP and the INC had a strong presence in Delhi and have even been in power there. Thus, some of the voterbase are still familiar with both parties and hence don't hesitate to consider voting for them during Parliamentary elections.

  3. The voters are smart enough to recognize that on nationalistic issues, the number of Parliamentary seats a party can win does increase the likelihood of them delivering on their campaign promises. It is obvious that AAP lacks a pan-India presence and hence cannot even win 10% of the seats in the Parliament. In such a case, the other national parties will obviously seem like a better option.

  4. The AAP has no coherent political ideology.

  5. Unlike the other regional parties (and smaller national parties) AAP is a young and politically inexperienced party that is totally unfamiliar with alliance politics and doesn't know how to take full advantage of it. A big problem thus with AAP is that it doesn't know how to shelve political rivalries and do competitive politics. (This is the major reason they didn't win any seats in the 2024 elections).

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