NEW DELHI: Delhi has voted for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. His Aam Aadmi Party is set to register a landslide win in the Delhi elections, ahead in 52 seats at 9.30 am on Tuesday morning.
The BJP – which had 13 months ago won 31 seats – is staring at a debacle, leading only in 13. The Congress continues to play spectator, ahead only in three.
At the AAP office in west Delhi’s Patel Nagar, there are massive celebrations. A giant board outside reads, “Janta ka CM (The chief minister of the people)”. Hundreds of people have gathered waving the Indian tricolour.
Inside, Mr kejriwal is tracking the election results. His party’s leaders are addressing the ecstatic crowds.
Reacting to leads showing AAP ahead, the BJP’s presumptive chief minister Kiran Bedi said from her balcony, “The defeat is mine…it is not a referendum on PM MOdi.”
This is the first major setback for PM Modi since he registered a massive win in the national elections in May last year. The BJP has won most recently held state polls based on BJP chief Amit Shah’s strategy of projecting only Mr Modi, but he changed tack for Delhi, picking Ms Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate at the last minute, seemingly to counter Mr Kejriwal’s growing popularity.
Exactly a year ago, Arvind Kejriwal had quit as chief minister at the head of a minority government after 49 days in office over his anti-corruption bill, forcing President’s Rule in Delhi. Since then he repeatedly admitted quitting was a mistake and had sought a majority this time.
In December 2013, AAP had won 28 seats, the BJP had won 31, the Congress eight. No party was able to get a majority at 36 seats in the 70-member assembly.