The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday emerged victorious in the Delhi assembly election as it won 62 of the 70 assembly seats that went to polls on February 8. The BJP came distant second by winning eight seats while the Congress failed to open its account. The Election Commission had on Sunday announced that 62.59% of 1.47 crore voters turned up to vote in the polling that was held on Saturday, February 8.
The counting of votes started at 8 AM on Tuesday. Tight security arrangements were put in place at 21 centres across the national capital with strong rooms storing the EVMs placed under three-layer security. The ruling AAP was locked in a triangular contest with the BJP and the Congress. However, at the end of all rounds of counting, although it can be said that the AAP returned to power with a thumping majority, it is to be noted that the BJP has improved its tally to eight from three in the last elections. Most of the exit polls conducted on February 8 after the conclusion of assembly elections had predicted a massive victory for the ruling AAP, with most surveys putting the number of seats above 50.
The Congress tried its luck but failed to win in even a single constituency. What’s worse, 63 of the 66 Congress candidates who had contested the polls in the national capital also lost their deposits. Only three candidates from the grand old party — Arvinder Singh Lovely (contesting from Gandhi Nagar), Devender Yadav (contesting from Badli) and Abhishek Dutt (contesting from Kasturba Nagar) — managed to save their deposits. Delhi Congress chief Subhash Chopra resigned from his post, taking moral responsibility for the party’s debacle in the polls.
As per data provided by the Election Commission, here are the voting percentages for all the parties:
AAP chief and incumbent Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal emerged victorious in the New Delhi assembly constituency, defeating the nearest contender by over 21,697 votes.
Kejriwal polled 46,758 votes, which is 61.1% of total votes polled in the high profile constituency of New Delhi. Kejriwal defeated Sunil Kumar Yadav of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who polled 25,061 votes, which is 32.75 per cent of total votes polled. Congress candidate Romesh Sabhawarl received a mere 3,220 votes.
As early trends on Tuesday indicated a resounding victory for AAP, Kejriwal had thanked the people of Delhi for reposing the faith in him and his party for the third time. Accompanied by his wife Sunita, Kejriwal had said: “Dilli walon ghazab kar diya aap logon ne! I love you.”
“This is the victory of the people who consider me as their son and voted for us,” Kejriwal had added, “I thank all the citizens of Delhi and all our party workers. Our party workers continued to work throughout day and night. My family also supported me through this electoral battle. Today is also the birthday of my wife.” The incumbent Delhi Chief Minister was also accompanied by AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and newly-elected MLA Raghav Chaddha.
Congratulations poured in for Kejriwal from politicos across party lines, throughout the country. Among those who congratulated him were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and others.
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari also congratulated Kejriwal and expressed gratitude towards the BJP party workers for their hard work in the run-up to the polls, asking them not to take the defeat to their heart.”I thank the people of Delhi. I thank our party workers for their hard work. They have done a lot. I accept the mandate of the people of Delhi and congratulate Arvind Kejriwal. I hope that he will perform well as per the expectations of the people.” On being asked if he considered stepping down after the BJP’s defeat in the assembly polls, he said, “It is an internal party matter. I will let you know if anything like that happens.” Tiwari also said that the party will review why it failed to meet its own expectations in the Assembly polls and saw a moral victory in the fact that the party’s vote share has increased since 2015. “Delhi must have given mandate after careful thinking. Our vote percentage has increased from 32% to around 38%. Delhi did not reject us and the increase (in vote share) is a good sign for us,” he told reporters.
Congress leader P. Chidambaram said the people of Delhi have ‘defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP’. “AAP won, bluff and bluster lost. The people of Delhi, who are from all parts of India, have defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP. I salute the people of Delhi who have set an example to other states that will hold their elections in 2021 and 2022,” Chidambaram wrote in a tweet.
Celebrations began at the AAP office soon after it became clear that the party was headed for a big victory. Party workers were seen dancing to drum beats. As a show of dominion over their rivals, AAP supporters also danced to the tune of Manoj Tiwari’s ‘Rinkiya Ke Papa’ song to further mock Kejriwal’s rival.
Unlike AAP, the BJP had not projected a chief ministerial candidate, banking on VIP leaders of the BJP on a national-level for the campaigning. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi held two rallies, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda held several rallies in the city. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, too, had come to Delhi for campaigning ahead of the polls. The BJP contested the polls on national agendas, citing the work done by the Modi-led central government, including the central healthcare schemes and huge steps like the abrogation of Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act, etc.
On the other hand, AAP sought votes on a local developmental agenda, citing the work done in the city by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi during the past five years. AAP cited the state government’s efforts to improve government schools and provide affordable healthcare options in the city through mohalla clinics. It also started populist schemes including free travel for women and exemptions in electricity and water bills on stipulated consumption.
The city had witnessed a few major violent incidents during the run-up to the polls, most of which were related to the widespread anti-CAA-NRC protests in the national capital. Several buses were burnt. The police had also entered the Jamia campus. There were three incidents of firing in the run-up to elections, two at Jamia and the other near the Shaheen Bagh area, where demonstrators have organised a sit-in in protest against the amended citizenship act for over nearly two months now.
Courtesy : DNA