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Explainer: Why is the ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ abbreviated as ‘AAAP’ in the Election Commission records?

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Anyone who has followed the 2020 Delhi Assembly election results on the ECI’s website must have been surprised to note that the Aam Aadmi Party was abbreviated as ‘AAAP’ and not ‘AAP’. Why is it so and does it make any difference to the election process & outcome?

The results of the 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly were announced on 11 February 2020. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party won a landslide bagging 62 out of 70 seats whereas the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged the remaining 8 seats. However, those who viewed the Election Commission’s portal to check the results were taken by surprise seeing the ‘Aam Aadmi Party’ being abbreviated as ‘AAAP’ and trying to find an answer to this question.

Aam Aadmi Party is popularly known as ‘AAP’

The Aam Aadmi Party is popularly known with the acronym, ‘AAP’. Even on the party’s website, the party uses the acronym AAP along with their symbol, the broom, in blue and white shades.  The social media handles also use a similar profile picture.

However, the election results displayed in the Election Commission of India (ECI) ’s portal refer to Aam Aadmi Party with the acronym ‘AAAP’. This is being debated on social media raising doubts if it’s a typo in the ECI website.

Is this really a typo?

In reply to a tweet, the spokesperson of ECI, Sheyphali Sharan stated that the triple A in the abbreviation was not a typo. Further, the spokesperson also added that the same abbreviation was used in 2015 elections as well since the acronym ‘AAP’ was already allocated to another party, ‘Awami Aamjan Party’ registered with ECI on 03 January 2011. The Aam Aadmi Party was registered with ECI only in 2013.

Along with the tweet, the spokesperson also attached an image of the list of parties that contested in the Delhi elections in 2015 along with their acronyms where it was clearly mentioned that the abbreviation for Aam Aadmi Party is AAAP.

In the list of parties that participated in Delhi Legislative Assembly elections in 2013 too, it could be seen that the abbreviation used was AAAP. 

Clearly, this is not the first time that such an abbreviation was used for the Aam Aadmi Party.  

Back in May 2019, an Aam Aadmi Party politician, Somnath Bharti, had taken to Twitter asking the ECI why the results shown on the ECI website refer to the party as AAAP and not AAP. The ECI replied to the tweet stating, ‘It’s the code allocated to AAP’. Somnath Bharti won the recent Delhi election from Malviya Nagar constituency with a margin of around 18,000 votes.

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What is this ‘Awami Aamjan Party’?

The ‘Awami Aamjan Party’ was registered as a political party with the ECI in January 2011. The party’s based out of Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh.

The party uses the abbreviation ‘AAP’ on its official letterhead.

This party did not contest the 2012 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. However, the party contested the 2013 Rajasthan assembly elections. It had put up candidates in 5 constituencies who together polled 8008 votes.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, this party contested in 2 parliament seats and secured 4380 votes. Both these were in Rajasthan (Tonk – Sawai Madhopur & Jalore). The party was allotted the Almirah symbol.

In Tonk -Sawai Madhopur, both the Aam Aadmi Party & the Awami Aamjan Party contested the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Their respective abbreviations can be seen in the results data from the ECI.

The Awami Aamjan Party seems to have become inactive after 2014. It had neither contested the 2018 Rajasthan assembly elections nor the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Does this abbreviation make any difference to the election outcome?

The abbreviation doesn’t affect the election process or the outcome since it is not used anywhere on the ballot paper. The ballot paper contains the name of the candidate, the picture of the candidate and the party symbol. The abbreviation is used only during the compilation of results and the preparation of statistical reports related to the elections.

In fact, in 2018, when the Aam Aadmi Party approached the Delhi High Court  (WP (C) 8658/2018) against the registration of newly formed ‘Aapki Apna Party (People’s)’ on grounds that the new party could use their abbreviation ‘AAP’ which can confuse their voters, the ECI told the High Court that the full names of political parties are used for registering parties and not the abbreviations.

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