Even as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was looking at a humiliating defeat in the MCD polls, Bhagwant Mann, one of the four Lok Sabha MPs of the party, said there was no use in finding fault with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
His comments were in reference with the AAP’s defeat in Punjab Assembly polls and subsequent claims that the EVMs were rigged in the state which was the reason behind its loss in the state where it came second behind Congress.
AAP Punjab state convener Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi also endorsed Mann's remarks.
After the party won only 20 seats in Punjab Assembly polls, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal had alleged tampering of EVMs in the polls.
In national capital, where the AAP secured win in 48 of 270 wards in the MCD polls, Dilip Pandey, party’s Delhi unit convenor resigned, in what was seen as admission of defeat.
"I have resigned from d post of AAP Delhi Convenor, conveyed to National Convenor @ArvindKejriwal to give this responsibility to someone else (sic)," Pandey tweeted after BJP swept the elections in 181 wards.
The resignation of Pandey, who was overseeing MCD campaign and strategy along with AAP's Delhi in-charge Ashish Talwar, holds significance because he was among those who had expressed apprehension that the MCD poll results could be "rigged".
His resignation indicates that he has taken the responsibility for the defeat and not put the blame on the EVMs as the senior leadership of the party did earlier in the day.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, his cabinet colleague Gopal Rai were among those who blamed the EVM tampering as the reason behind party’s drubbing in the civic polls.
Disagreeing with the claim, AAP MLA Alka Lamba also offered to resign from her post and also relinquish all positions in the party taking "responsibility" for the defeat of AAP candidates in her Chandni Chowk constituency.
"I take personal responsibility for the party's defeat in all three wards in my constituency and offer to resign from all party posts and as MLA," Lamba tweeted.
Lamba, who does not hold any important post in the party, later told reporters that she knows the ground situation.
Even as AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal kept repeating the “EVM tampering” claims, many in the party are ready to buy this claim.
Taking a different stand than the party leadership, a Delhi minister did not agree with the views held by the top brass.
"We need to see why we lost in Delhi despite winning 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi just two years ago. There is definitely a Modi wave and we need to introspect why we lost. We have not even introspected on the reasons why we lost in Punjab," minister Kapil Mishra said.
MLA Somnath Bharti also echoed the minister's sentiments.
"The reasons are shocking as we did not expect to do so badly. Although the party blames EVMs for the defeat and we need to look into the reasons behind the loss, my view is different. But I shall toe the party line on this," the MLA said.
Several volunteers, the backbone of the party, are also refusing to buy the claims made by the leadership.
Poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas on Twitter posted a Hindi couplet, which was seen as a veiled reference to the AAP’s defeat in the municipal polls.
He tweeted, “Ho gayi hai peer parvat si pighalni chahiye, iss himalay se koi ganga nikalni chahiye (The sorrow has reached the gigantic proportions of Himalayas, it is time that a soothing Ganges emerges out to alleviate the pain.)”
AAP leadership blames EVM manipulation for defeat in MCD polls
"EVM tampering is the bitter truth of the country's democracy. One can crack jokes on us initially, but fearing being made fun of, we cannot refrain from speaking the truth," Sisodia told reporters.
"Looking at the situation, it seems that there is an EVM wave in Delhi," Sisodia said.
Minister Gopal Rai said an "EVM wave" is sweeping across the city.
"This isn't a Modi wave, this is an EVM wave. The same happened in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It is a major threat against democracy. The rights of the electorate will have to be ensured. The BJP wants to demolish democracy," Rai told reporters.
Senior adviser to the AAP government, Nagendar Sharma, tweeted: "Sweeping Delhi MCD polls without sweeping Delhi's streets for a decade. When machines are with you human will is of no relevance."
The party's near-certain defeat comes barely two weeks into its drubbing in the Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll and two years after it registered a thumping victory in the assembly polls winning 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.