Delhi’s love affair with Arvind Kejriwal continues unabated as Aam Aadmi Party emerged victorious from 62 out of the 70 assembly constituencies in the Delhi assembly elections as the counting of votes concluded late on Tuesday evening.
AAP won from all 10 assembly segments in three of the seven parliamentary constituencies in the National Capital— New Delhi, West Delhi and Chandni Chowk. The party was the voters' first choice in seven assembly seats each out of the total 20 falling in the East and North-east Delhi parliamentary constituencies. AAP candidates also pipped their rivals in 18 of the 20 assembly segments lying in the North-west and South Delhi parliamentary constituencies.
And Kejriwal wasn’t the one to hide his delight.
“I love you, Delhi,” thundered Kejriwal, addressing a huge crowd assembled outside the party headquarters at ITO, after it became certain that AAP was coming to power in the National Capital for the third time in a row.
“Thank you for trusting your son, Delhi,” he said, to loud cheers of the crowd.
“This is a victory of development. This is how politics of 21st century must be done,” said Kejriwal.
During his victory speech, the Delhi CM frontrunner expressed his gratitude to ‘Lord Hanuman,’ in what appeared to be a slight shift in the political stance of the party over the last few weeks. “We pray that Hanuman ji keeps showing us the right path so that we continue to serve the people of Delhi,” said Kerjiwal, who had only this month revealed himself to be a devotee of the Hindu monkey deity.
अपने बेटे को इतना प्यार देने के लिए दिल्लीवसियों का तहे दिल से शुक्रिया। आज दिल्ली वालों ने एक नई राजनीति को जन्म दिया “काम की राजनीति”। ये भारत माता की जीत है। जय हिंद। pic.twitter.com/q5xP8ytYvc— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 11, 2020
Addressing the same gathering before the CM-designate’s remarks, AAP’s winning candidate from Rajinder Nagar, Raghav Chadha, blasted the BJP for running a negative campaign against his party. “The people of Delhi have proven that Delhi’s son Arvind Kejriwal isn’t a terrorist but a true patriot. The work he is doing towards nation-building is what constitutes patriotism. What the BJP is doing isn’t patriotism,” said Chadha.
BJP accepts defeat; Congress draws a blank
Manoj Tiwari, the Delhi unit chief of the BJP, accepted defeat just before 5 PM on Tuesday. “We are disappointed, of course. But I would like to congratulate Arvind Kejriwal nevertheless and hope that he keeps working for the people of Delhi,” Tiwari said, adding that he wasn’t shying away from taking full responsibility for the election outcome.
“We will introspect and look into the factors that led to our defeat,” the BJP parliamentarian added.
On being prodded whether making the citizenship law protests at Shaheen Bagh an election theme had backfired for the BJP, Tiwari highlighted that even the Supreme Court had questioned the logic of blocking a crucial city intersection for the purpose of protest.
“Our motto is development for all. We don’t indulge politics of hatred,” said Tiwari.
Until Monday, BJP leaders, including Tiwari and its Information and Technology (IT) Cell head Amit Malviya among others, appeared confident of an upset, as they betted on the late surge in voter turnout in the final hours of polling on Feb 8.
But the final outcome narrated a different story altogether. While the BJP did manage to secure a decent vote share of approximately 39 per cent, it just won eight seats in the end, slightly better than its 2015 tally of three constituencies.
Hours before Tiwari’s remarks, Congress’ Delhi in-charge PC Chacko accepted the mandate as he wished Aam Aadmi Party well on its victory.
“We will introspect. And I can assure you that we will build the Congress Party from the bottom-up in the National Capital,” said Congress’ Communication’s cell head Randeep Surjewala, who was also present at the conference at the party headquarters.
Congress didn't win any of the 70 seats, even as at least one of its candidates, Haroon Yusuf, was leading from the Ballimaran assembly constituency till midday. However, AAP candidates soon overtook their BJP and Congress competitors on most of the seats as the day progressed, thus scripting a strike rate of over 90 percent in two consecutive state elections.