AAP Defeats BJP For First Time, Big Win In Key Delhi Polls: 10 Points

This AAP win is the first time it has unseated the BJP in any election.

In an election that turned out to be closer than expected, the AAP managed a prestige win; and the BJP did not lose as badly as was predicted. The Congress barely managed to hold on to some relevance.

Here are the 10 key facts:

1.Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP has won the prestige battle for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), unseating an entrenched BJP. It has won 134 seats, eight above the majority in a House of 250. The BJP, which ran the campaign with PM Narendra Modi’s face, has won 104 — a not-so-bad performance after 15 years of continuous rule.

2.The Congress was reduced to nine, which means its base in Delhi continues to erode. In the 2017 MCD polls — when the BJP won 181 of the total 272 wards, while AAP could mange only 48 — the Congress had managed 30 seats.

3.The AAP office saw massive celebrations with supporters dancing to dhol beats, and kids dressed as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The office had kept balloons and celebratory posters ready since morning. AAP leaders had gone into a huddle as the counting threw up a contest much tighter than the AAP sweep predicted by exit polls.

4.This AAP win is the first time it has unseated the BJP in any election. Its wins in Delhi have either been against the Congress or a vote of confidence while in power already. In Punjab early this year, it again won against the Congress. Party leader Sanjay Singh pointed to this:, “The BJP would always say AAP has only defeated Congress. Today, Arvind Kejriwal has given them an answer.”

5.Though the BJP has not formed the Delhi state government in the past 24 years, its control over MCD remained strong through Congress and AAP governments. Even when the AAP won a record 67 of 70 seats in the 2015 assembly polls, the BJP, two years later, retained the MCD.

6.The AAP and BJP, both currently controlling parts of Delhi’s administration through state and central governments, saw this as a prestige battle. These were the first civic elections after the MCD — divided into three, area-wise, around 10 years ago — was reunified and the wards redrawn after the latest term of the BJP ended early this year. Over 1,300 candidates were in the contest.

7.In the campaign, the BJP had gone all-out — as it usually does — getting PM Narendra Modi to hand over keys of some slum rehab flats. It deployed union ministers and chief ministers too. Local leaders were a distant second fiddle for both main parties.

8.The AAP prepared since early last year. It kept its pitch directly mounted on the garbage issue: “We’ve improved things under the state, now let us take care of sanitation too.” The slogan “Kejriwal’s government, Kejriwal’s corporator” rivalled the BJP’s similar pitch of “Modi’s double engine” — both building on their top leaders’ faces.

9.The BJP made promises of housing, and pressed on corruption charges on several AAP ministers. The Congress used these to take digs at the AAP. But Mr Kejriwal said his “shaandaar” (glorious) work as chief minister won’t be defeated by “bogus charges” and “misuse of central agencies”.

10.The Congress was hoping to get some pockets of influence at least, but has lost further ground. It’s still rebuilding in Delhi after a decline began in 2014, and then came the death of Sheila Dikshit in 2019. The party’s focus on macro-politics of ideology — evident in Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ that’s in Rajasthan now — meant the civic body elections weren’t high on its priority list.

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