National

Delhi: AAP spoils BJP’s party

Ajoy Ashirwad Mahaprashasta New Delhi | Updated on March 13, 2018

Aam Aadmi Party President Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference in their party office,in New Delhi on Sunday. -- Sandeep Saxena   -  Sandeep Saxena

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With the incumbent Congress placed at a distant third, the election to the Delhi Assembly turned out to be a direct contest between the new entrant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), led by Arvind Kejriwal, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

As Delhi heads for a hung Assembly, with no party attaining a simple majority of 36 seats in a 70- member Assembly, the defeat of the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government clearly points to an overwhelming anti-incumbency sentiment against the Union Government.

The Congress could win only eight seats in an Assembly it dominated for 15 consecutive years. The party’s vote shares dropped from around 40 per cent in 2008 to 25 per cent.

Not surprisingly, even Sheila Dikshit lost to Kejriwal by more than 25,000 votes. The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 32 seats, four short of a simple majority. Clearly, AAP prevented it from cashing in on a significantly high anti-incumbency votes. The BJP leadership was disappointed with the party’s performance in Delhi.

While it performed well in areas dominated by Punjabis and Poorvanchalis (migrants from UP and Bihar), it had to face a tight contest from AAP candidates all over the National Capital. The BJP could derive solace from the fact that its political strategy to focus on these two population groups has paid some dividends. Despite emerging as the single largest party, its vote share is only 33 per cent of the votes polled, a loss of three percentage points from the last elections.

With 28 seats, it is AAP that is receiving all the attention. In the days leading up to the polls, the AAP phenomenon was seen as only a spoiler. Almost all AAP candidates polled more than 25,000 votes and many lost by less than 1,500 votes.

Political observers said that it is a ‘stupendous’ performance for a party which is contesting for the first time. However, that the public mood was with AAP was clear from the fact that it won from posh up- market constituencies like Greater Kailash and Malviya Nagar to rural outer Delhi constituencies like Burari and Kondli.

“This means that people have voted across caste and caste lines for AAP. Existing political equations in the National Capital seems to have failed this time,” a senior Congress leader told Business Line.

Most people this correspondent spoke to seemed excited about political parties in this election more than individual candidates, a norm in State elections. This means that the politics of AAP, which aggressively campaigned against corruption and came across as idealists, seems to have touched people’s nerve. Not surprisingly, it received a massive 30 per cent votes in its first election.

Published on December 08, 2013

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