AAP wins Capital in landslide victory
Delhi has given a historic mandate to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) this time, carrying it on its shoulders to an absolute majority in the Assembly. The party will win way above 60 seats in the 70-seat House. Thought to be a close competitor, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could not garner a double-digit tally, failing miserably to read the signs that were evident from the buzzing AAP poll booths on election day itself. The Congress was wiped out and failed to win even a single seat — a first.
As soon as counting began to call the Delhi Assembly elections, AAP took a decisisve lead over its nearest political competitor and continued to steadily build over it as the hours progressed. Very soon, the AAP was headed towards an absolute majority, something that had eluded it in the December 2013 elections. The margin of the victory — 54 per cent vote share — outpaced even the most generous of exit polls, as the party swept Delhi and flicked the BJP off its path to the Assembly House.
Accepting defeat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Arvind Kejriwal to congratulate him and to say they would work together. Kejriwal said he was looking forward to meeting the Prime Minister. It is learnt Modi has invited the future Delhi chief minister for tea.
Celebrations predictably started early in AAP headquarters as leads turned into a mandate. Party member Manish Sisodia said they were confident of forming a government. AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said: “It was just not the underclass, but the middle class also voted AAP.”
On the other hand, as the gap between AAP and BJP irrevocably widened, BJP’s chief ministerial nominee Kiran Bedi said: “We (Arvind Kejriwal and her) both are competing. We both are playing a match. When we play, one person has to win. If the party wins, it will be a collective victory and if the party loses, I will take responsibility.” She was at that time trailing from Krishna Nagar, considered a party safe seat.
All eyes have been on AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal this time — his second shot at power in Delhi after he resigned as its chief minister on February 14, 2014 after just 49 days in power. Having defeated Congess’ Sheila Dikshit last time, Kejriwal headed a minority government but resigned in less than two months because of his inability to pass the proposed anti-corruption bill. He had blamed other parties for not supporting him. Kejriwal later apologised for quitting, and propped himself up in the general elections against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi.
The BJP, which has been out of power in Delhi for the last 16 years, made a gamble by bringing in former IPS officer Kiran Bedi into the party and made her their chief ministerial candidate which is said to have triggered discontent among the party leaders and ranks.
Counting of votes for the high-profile Delhi polls began sharp at 8 am today and final results are likely to be available by 1 pm. The Election Commission had made elaborate arrangements for the counting of ballots, which took place in 14 centres across the city under tight security. A record 67.14 per cent turnout was recorded in the polls on Saturday in which a total of 673 candidates participated.
Spoke to @ArvindKejriwal & congratulated him on the win. Assured him Centre’s complete support in the development of Delhi.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 10, 2015