NEW DELHI – The Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party retained power with a stunning victory, winning 62 of the 70 assembly seats and leaving the BJP with just eight seats, and decimating the Congress in a bitterly-fought contest that took place in the midst of massive protests over the new citizenship law
In a near-repeat performance of 2015, AAP retained power by bagging 62 of the 70 assembly seats. The AAP had bagged 67 seats in 2015.
According to the final votes tally released by the Election Commission, the AAP won in 62 constituencies with a voting percentage of 53.57, while the BJP got eight seats with vote share of 38.51 per cent.
The Congress drew a blank for the second successive assembly elections in Delhi.
The AAP’s stupendous victory comes nearly eight months after it suffered a severe drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls in which the party drew a blank while the BJP won all the seven seats.
Among the AAP heavyweights who won the elections after a nail-bitter included Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Ragav Chaddha and Atishi. Delhi cabinet ministers Gopal Rai, Satyender Jain also were among prominent winners.
Modi congratulated Kejriwal for his party’s win and wished him “the very best” in fulfilling the aspirations of the people
“Congratulations to AAP and shri Arvind Kejriwal ji for the victory in the Delhi assembly elections. Wishing them the very best in fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Delhi,” the prime minister tweeted.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal won New Delhi Constituency by over 21,000 votes against his BJP rival Sunil Kumar Yadav.
The elections in the national capital took place in the midst of massive protests in the city and elsewhere over the new citizenship law, an issue which was strongly raised by the BJP top leadership during the campaigning which often turned bitter and vitriolic.
The political opponents of the BJP accused the saffron party of carrying out a “divisive” campaign to polarise the voters by consistently highlighting the over 50-day demonstration by a group of women in Shaheen Bagh area.
Though BJP’s campaign focused on national security issues, the AAP mainly focused on its achievements in the fields of education, healthcare and infrastructure.
The AAP had registered a sensational victory in 2015 by winning 67 seats in a hurricane march that almost wiped out the BJP and the Congress.
“We have been saying since the beginning that the upcoming polls will be fought on the basis of work done by us… You wait and watch, we will register a massive win,” AAP spokesperson Sanjay Singh told reporters earlier.
“We hope we get such a clear majority that a message goes out that doing Hindu-Muslim politics will not work anymore,” said AAP volunteer Fareen Khan at the party office.
After he was declared winner from the Patparganj seat, Sisodia said the BJP indulged in “politics of hate”, but people refused its agenda.
“The BJP indulged in politics of hate, but I thank the people of Patparganj…Delhi’s people have chosen a government which works for them and explained the true meaning of nationalism through their mandate,” he told reporters.
The AAP headquarters were decorated with blue and white balloons and big banners with picture of Kejriwal.
The Congress accepted defeat and vowed to rebuild and revive itself at the grassroots level in the city.
It said the poll results also had a message for the BJP that the “most toxic campaign” unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been defeated.
“People’s mandate is against us, we accept it. We have resolved to revive and rebuild the party,” Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said at a press conference.
There were counting centres across 21 locations in 11 districts, including at the CWG Sports Complex in east Delhi, NSIT Dwarka in west Delhi, Meerabai Institute of Technology and G B Pant Institute of Technology in southeast Delhi, Sir CV Raman ITI, Dheerpur in central Delhi, and Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana in north Delhi.
A total of 672 candidates, including 593 men and 79 women, were in the fray for the hotly contested elections.
While Kejriwal was the star campaigner for the AAP, Prime Minister Modi, Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were among those who extensively campaigned for the BJP.
The Congress got into campaign mode much later. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi were among those who campaigned for the Congress.
I Love You: Kejriwal To People Of Delhi
A new kind of politics has emerged from the Delhi Assembly polls with people rewarding the party which built schools, hospitals and provided cheap electricity round-the-clock, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Tuesday, hailing AAP’s landslide win as a victory of India.
“Dilliwalon, ghazab kar diya aapne (Delhiites, you have done the impossible). I love you,” Kejriwal, flanked by his wife, daughter and senior party leaders, said in a brief address to joyous supporters and party workers at the AAP’s headquarters in the national capital.
“It is the beginning of new kind of politics today. This is very auspicious message for the country and the politics of work can only take our country to the 21st century,” he added.
“It is a victory for Bharat Mata (mother India),” he said as a large number of supporters cheered him.
Later, he visited the famous Hanuman temple near Connaught Place along with his family and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
According to the final figures released by the Election Commission, the AAP won in 62 of the 70 seats with a total vote share of 53.57 per cent. The BJP emerged victorious in the remaining eight seats, getting 38.51 per cent of the total votes. The Congress could not even manage a single seat and ended with 4.26 per cent vote share.
“It is a victory of the people of Delhi who considered me their son… Lord Hanuman has blessed us. May god give us more strength to serve people of Delhi,” he said.
He said the “politics of work” has taken birth in Delhi and the AAP’s victory is of the entire country.
“Bharat mata ki jai…Inquilab zindabad,” Kejriwal said as he started addressing the supporters.
63 Congress Candidates Lose Deposits
Congress’ performance in the Delhi assembly elections touched a record low with the party bagging less than 5 per cent votes and 63 of its candidates losing their deposits.
The party, which ruled Delhi for 15 years on the trot under former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, failed to open its account for the second consecutive time in the Delhi assembly elections.
Only three candidates – Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhi Nagar, Devender Yadav from Badli and Abhishek Dutt from Kasturba Nagar – could save their deposits.
The Congress contested the polls this time in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal, fighting on 66 seats and leaving four for its ally.
The security deposit of a candidate is forfeited if he/she fails to secure one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in a constituency.
Most of the Congress candidates got less than five per cent of the total votes polled in their respective constituencies.
Delhi Congress chief Shubhash Chopra’s daughter Shivani Chopra, who was the party candidate from Kalkaji, also could not save her deposit.
Former Delhi Assembly speaker Yoganand Shastri’s daughter, Priyanka Singh, also forfeited her deposit. The vice-president of Delhi Mahila Congress got only 3.6 per cent votes.
The party’s campaign committee chairman and former cricketer Kirti Azad’s wife, Poonam Azad, lost badly and stood fourth, polling only 2,604 (2.23 per cent) votes.
Devender Yadav, the party’s candidate from the Badli seat, polled 19.66 per cent votes, while Arvinder Singh Lovely from Gandhi Nagar got 19.14 per cent.
The Congress’ Kasturba Nagar candidate, Abhishek Dutt, got 21.42 per cent votes and stood a distant third.
The Congress was expected to do good in the minority-dominated seats due to its vehement criticism of the government over the amended citizenship law and police highhandedness at Jamia Millia. However, its candidates lost deposits in all such constituencies too.
Congress candidate from Ballimaran and former Delhi minister Haroon Yusuf could garner a paltry 4.73 per cent votes.
Alka Lamba, the outgoing MLA who switched to the Congress last year, could garner only 5.03 per cent votes, while the youngest candidate this election and former DUSU president, Rocky Tuseed, polled 3.8 per cent votes.
With the Congress receiving 22.46 per cent votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, pushing the Aam Aadmi Party to the third spot, many hoped it would improve its performance in the Assembly elections.
However, the party’s vote percentage dropped from 9.7 per cent in 2015 to 4.2 per cent this time. In the 2013 Assembly elections, it had polled 24.55 per cent votes.
Sheila Dikshit’s son, Sandeep Dikshit, said the results did not surprise him and internal politics kept the party from doing good.
Delhi Mahila Congress chief and party spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee said in a tweet, “We are again decimated in Delhi. Enough of introspection, time for action now. Inordinate delay in decision making at the top, lack of strategy and unity at the state level, demotivated workers, no grassroots connect-all are factors. Being part of the system, I too take my share of responsibility.”
Her colleague Jaiveer Shergill suggested that the Congress should avoid things like justifying defeat, finding happiness in the BJP’s defeat and telling itself that wins and losses are cyclic in elections.
A few Congress leaders also acknowledged that the party did not go full throttle into campaigning.
Senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra campaigned for party candidates just two-three days ahead of the elections.
The party candidates lost deposits in all the seats where the Gandhis had addressed rallies — Jangpura, Sangam Vihar, Chandni Chowk and Kondli.
Taking moral responsibility for the defeat, Shubhash Chopra said, “I worked for 20-21 hours everyday, but I am not tired yet. The Delhi Congress will continue to fight.”
BJP Puts Up Posters, Accepts Defeat
Soon after the Delhi Assembly poll trends showed that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is winning with a clear majority, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have accepted defeat. The party has put up posters at its Delhi party office saying that it is not discouraged by defeat.
A poster in the Delhi BJP office has a photo of Union Home Minister Amit Shah and reads ‘Victory doesn’t makes us arrogant, defeat doesn’t demoralise us’.
Delhi BJP leader Manoj Yadav said that this is an old poster and it should not be linked to the Delhi Assembly election results.
Earlier, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said he is not nervous as he knows that the polls will have something good for the party.