Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were voted back to power with a massive mandate in the Delhi Assembly election as the party won 62 seats in the 70-member House.
The party dropped just five seats and less than a percentage point in vote share from its stellar 2015 showing.
Despite a hard-fought and oftentimes bitter campaign that saw big guns, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah address rallies, the BJP managed to win only eight seats, up three from its 2015 tally.
The Congress, yet again, failed to open its account — the party’s candidates looked set to forfeit their deposits on 63 of the 66 seats contested.
Speaking after the victory, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The people of Delhi have given birth to a new kind of politics — the politics of work. This is a vote for those who build schools, who provide electricity and healthcare. This augurs well for the country.”
He visited a Hanuman temple in Connaught Place soon after the victory.
Ministers post wins
The AAP secured 53.57 % of the vote share, while the BJP got 38.5% and the Congress 4.3%.
Though three of the AAP’s incumbent Ministers — Manish Sisodia, Kailash Gahlot and Satyendar Jain — were trailing after the first few rounds of counting, they went on to retain their seats.
Raghav Chadha, Atishi Marlena and Dilip Pandey from the AAP, who lost in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, strode into the Assembly. On the other hand, former AAP Minister Kapil Mishra, who left the party and fought on a BJP ticket, was defeated. Anil Bajpai, also a former AAP legislator, however, retained his Gandhi Nagar seat.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari, while accepting responsibility for the dismal performance, argued that the party had, however, been able to increase its vote share.
“I congratulate Arvind Kejriwal…In comparison to 2015, the BJP’s vote share has registered an increase which is the result of the hard work put in by its workers…these results also seem to herald the dawn of a new political era in the city, which has become bipolar instead of triangular,” he said.
BJP sources, however, blamed the party’s strategy of not projecting a chief ministerial face against Mr. Kejriwal, not being able to counter the AAP’s power and water subsidy schemes and “unwarranted comments” against Mr. Kejriwal by senior party leaders — including Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur, who was among the 200-plus party MPs covering the Capital as part of the BJP’s campaign — for the results.
“All these star campaigners ended up doing was overshadowing the local candidate; they also took the focus away from local issues,” a BJP insider said.
Senior Delhi Congress leader and national spokesperson of the party Sharmishtha Mukherjee, said the party had taken enough time to introspect and it was time for action now. “Inordinate delay in decision- making a the top, lack of strategy and unity at State level, demotivated voters and no grassroots-connect, are all factors,” Ms. Mukhejree said.