New Delhi: 2015 Delhi Assembly election is something that the Bharatiya Janata Party will not forget in a long time. On February 10, Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party, which was formed a little over two years ago, decimated the BJP, winning a staggering 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
The BJP, on the other side, was left with mere three seats, with the Congress drawing a blank. BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi lost from Krishna Nagar seat, considered a stronghold of the party.
Delhi Assembly elections was a high-pitched one, with charges and counter-charges being exchanged between the two main players, AAP and the BJP. While the BJP entered the political arena a bit late, AAP and its CM candidate, Kejriwal, had been campaigning in full swing in the national capital couple of months back.
They had been going door to door with a host of promise for the people, with Kejriwal repeatedly apologising to the people of the national capital for quitting the government in just 49 days. He addressed over 110 meetings in just two months, as per reports.
The AAP had won 28 seats in 2013 Delhi Assembly election and had formed the government with the support of the Congress. However, Kejriwal, who was the CM, quit the post in 49 days on the issue of the Lokpal Bill.
He had then fought the 2014 Lok Sabha polls against Narendra Modi from Varanasi which he subsequently lost. AAP had contested more than 400 seats in the General Elections but won only four. Later, Kejriwal was accused of leaving the CM post to fulfil the ambitions of becoming the PM of India.
Meanwhile, Delhi had been under President’s rule for the past one year. Now, with the humongous win today, life seems to have turned a full circle for AAP and his chief.
Having probably learnt from its past mistakes, AAP decided to focus on Delhi and not contest Haryana and Maharashtra elections, despite opposition from senior party leaders and workers from the two states.
In an interview to Zee Media, Kejriwal had revealed that he was not too keen on contesting the Lok Sabha polls as AAP did not have a well-oiled cadres and adequate infrastructure to go national but had been forced by his party to do so.
Restructuring the organisation and also involving its MLAs and other workers in party work, the AAP formed various frontal organisations like AAP’s youth, student’s and women wings, ST cell, Grameen Morcha, traders cell to tap and connect with voters.
It also decided to work on assembly seats where it had lost by a narrow margin in the last Assembly election and regions like Outer Delhi where it had fared badly.
As for the BJP, they refused that the Delhi results were in any way a referendum for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government. Modi did hold six rallies in Delhi and a battery of BJP MPs and Union Ministers were out on the streets campaigning for the party. The BJP did level a host of allegations on AAP, including taking illegal money through hawala.
And though there may be couple of factors for the loss of the BJP, the gamble of bringing in rank outsider Kiran Bedi, a former IPS officer and an erstwhile associate of Kejriwal in the anti-corruption movement, is said to have backfired hugely.
The saffron party had won all the seven seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, riding on the so-called Modi-wave.
To be noted is the fact that the AAP’s feat was rarely achieved in any state in the past. Only once in 1989, the Sikkim Sangram Parishad had won all the 32 seats in the Assembly.
46-year-old-former Revenue Service official, Kejriwal, was later elected leader of the AAP Legislature Party after which he staked claim to form government.
Lt Governor Najeeb Jung conveyed to Kejriwal that he will send a report to the President, a formality enabling government formation.
Kejriwal won the prestigious New Delhi seat by a margin of over 31,500 votes defeating the nearest BJP rival Nupur Sharma, a political novice. Former minister and Congress veteran Kiran Walia came a poor third with 4,700 votes and lost her deposit.
Congress’ CM candidate Ajay Maken also suffered a crushing defeat by a margin of over 50,000 votes at the hands of AAP Som Dutt in Sadar Bazar constituency and lost his deposit. Maken resigned as Congress General Secretary taking responsibility for the debacle.
Post victory, Kejriwal asked party workers not to get carried away by the mandate and not become ‘arrogant’. “You have done a wonder. When you are on the path of truth, all the forces of universe come together to help you. I salute the people of Delhi. It’s a victory of truth,” he said, adding, “I would like to urge all of you not to be arrogant. Otherwise we will meet the same fate five years down the line. We have to serve people of Delhi as they have given such a massive mandate to us and we are grateful to them.”
After the stupendous victory, PM Modi congratulated Kejriwal on phone and assured him of Centre’s support in running Delhi. On their part, AAP has said today that they would invite the PM for Kejriwal’s swearing-in ceremony, which is likely to be held on November 14 at Ramlila Maidan, exactly a year after he had quit the CM’s chair.