While the mandate cements the party’s position in Delhi politics, it also gives a boost to its expansion plans
Senior AAP leaders believe that government’s work and a positive campaign has struck a chord among voters
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is set to form the Delhi government for the third consecutive time under the leadership of the party’s national convener and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The party has, by winning the Delhi assembly elections, cemented its position in the politics of the national capital against two national parties—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress.
On Tuesday, AAP not only managed to retain a vote share of approximately 54% but also restricted the BJP to 8 seats and Congress to zero.
The run-up to the election saw a bitter campaign play out in the national capital. AAP was banking on its record especially in providing quality education, affordable healthcare, and free water and electricity. Senior leaders of the party believe that the government’s work and a positive campaign has struck a chord among voters.
“I am happy to become the MLA from Patparganj assembly constituency again. The BJP tried to do politics of hate but people of Delhi chose a government that works for the people," said senior party leader Manish Sisodia, whose constituency saw a nail-biting finish.
In comparison to Opposition parties, AAP had a head start as it began its campaign for the elections at least six months in advance. The party, which has its roots in the India Against Corruption movement, held more than three rounds of door-to-door campaigns and organization-building exercises. In the last month before the elections, Kejriwal addressed public meetings and road shows. He also held town hall meetings across all the 70 constituencies in Delhi.
AAP also tied up with Prashant Kishor-led Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC ) to lead the campaign for the party.
The party first contested elections in Delhi in 2013 where it formed the government with the support of the Congress. After dissolving the government in 49 days, the party came back with a brute majority after winning 67 out of 70 seats in 2015. In 2020, the trend has continued with the party sweeping 62 seats.
The victory in Delhi gives a boost to the party’s expansion plans. At present, it has one member in the Lok Sabha and holds the position of leader of opposition in Punjab. In the last five years, it has unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and the assembly elections in Haryana and Goa.
“People of Delhi have proved that Delhi’s son Arvind Kejriwal isn’t a terrorist but a true patriot. He’s working for nation building, the work he’s doing is what constitutes patriotism. What BJP is doing, isn’t patriotism. The people of Delhi have proved that this is a win for the Kejriwal model of development. A model of work politics has been established in Delhi today," Raghav Chadha, party spokesperson and MLA from Rajinder Nagar said.
While the party retained 46 MLAs, the candidate list has 24 new names, including three leaders who had contested the recent Lok Sabha elections from Delhi. On Tuesday, all the three leaders, Chadha, Atishi from Kalkaji, and Dilip Pandey from Timarpur, won the elections. Eight leaders who had defected from BJP and Congress and were fielded by AAP also won.
Kejriwal retained the New Delhi constituency by a margin of 21,697 votes. Cabinet ministers Satyendra Jain, Kailash Gahlot, and Gopal Rai also won from their constituencies. Senior party leader Durgesh Pathak who contested from Karawal Nagar, was among the eight AAP candidates who lost.
However, AAP will require support of the central government and the lieutenant governer (L-G) to fulfil various manifesto promises including providing registry for unauthorized colonies, passage of the Jan Lokpal bill and the demand for statehood for Delhi.
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