‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’ Says Delhi As AAP Gets Mandate For Another Term

by Sidharth Pandey 4 years ago Views 1959

‘Lage Raho Kejriwal’ Says Delhi As AAP Gets Mandat
The Aam Aadmi Party has managed to pull off another impressive victory in Delhi. The party leading in 62 of the 70 seats with confirmed wins in 52 seats and leading in 10 others while the BJP had won 6 seats and leading in 2 others at the time of writing this. The Congress once again failed to win even a single seat and 63 of its candidates have forfeited their deposits. What should be even more worrying for the grand old party is that its vote share in the capital has also continued to sharply shrink, this time by half from 9.8 per cent in 2015 to 4.27 per cent.

While this was largely seen as tight contest between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), early rounds of counting in the morning had put both the AAP and BJP within striking range, soon however it was apparent that Delhi had chosen Aam Aadmi Party to continue in government with the AAP taking a sharp lead. By six in the evening, AAP had crossed the half-way mark by winning 37 seats to form the next government.

"It is a victory of the people of Delhi" announced Arvind Kejriwal to thousands of supporters and the waiting media who had thronged the AAP Party Headquarters in the capital. Flanked by his family members and senior party colleagues, Kejriwal thanked the citizens for voting the AAP to power for the 3rd time.

If this was a make or break election for the AAP, the BJP which has been out of power in the capital for 22 years had also made this a prestige issue and turned it into a high pitched battle.

It had charged the AAP of doling out freebies to the voters including certain free units of water and electricity for Delhiites and free bus travel for women. Party MP Parvesh Verma, son of former BJP Delhi CM Sahib Singh, even called Kejriwal a ‘terrorist’. The BJP also tried to corner Kejriwal on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and accused him of backing protesters against the controversial law at Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh where a major road linking the capital to suburb of Noida has been blocked by protesters for close to 60 days and which has led to massive traffic jams in the area.

The AAP hit back accusing the BJP of running a divisive campaign and largely managed to keep the poll campaign and focus on local governance.

"We accept the mandate of the people of Delhi… we have always worked for the people and interest of Delhi but perhaps we failed to effectively communicate this," Manoj Tiwari, BJP MP and campaign head for Delhi told GoNews Correspondent Anjali Ojha after conceding defeat.

While Delhi has given AAP the mandate to continue for another 5 years, the BJP can take some solace from the fact that its vote share has improved. In fact within the first three hours into counting on Tuesday, the BJP had already bettered its vote share as compared to the last assembly elections in 2015 where it had cornered 32.1 per cent of the votes and the AAP with 54.3 per cent. This time around close to 7 hours after counting began, the BJPs vote share was 38.46 per cent while the AAP was at 53.65 per cent.

“It was all versus Kejriwal in these elections” Sanjay Singh, MP and senior AAP leader told GoNews. "Right from Amit Shah to the BJP MPs and allies including Nitish Kumar, Ram Vilas Paswan & Sukhbir Badal all campaigned for the BJP in Delhi. Delhi has sent out a loud message to the nation," said Singh.

While it remains to be seen how the AAP plans to interpret that message, Delhi Congress unit chief Subhash Chopra told GoNews Correspondent Ajay Jha that "the party honours the public's mandate and will introspect on its drawing another blank in the prestigious polls". 

Kejriwal is expected to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Delhi for the third time and many would argue that after running the government in Delhi, they would have gained political weightage to stake a claim for greater space in national politics. But so far it had limited success as Bhagwant Mann from Sangrur in Punjab was the sole contestant from AAP to make it to Parliament in last year's Lok Sabha polls.

The next Lok Sabha polls are in 2024, enough time in case the AAP is tempted to try and break out of Delhi and Punjab. A lot will also depend on how busy the BJP keeps Kejriwal in Delhi. The party which had won just 3 seats in 2015, it now has more than double the number and with a greater vote share, is expected to keep up the pressure and try and contain AAP to Delhi.

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