Aam Aadmi Party suffers bruising defeat in MCD polls, whereas Modi wave continues as BJP sweeps all three corporations. The elections carry wider national ramifications as an emphatic victory for the BJP only adds to its image to invincibility and leaves a divided opposition further demoralised in the run up to the national elections in 2019. It is noteworthy that the BJP has controlled the city’s civic bodies for a decade. BJP’s remarkable victory in MCD polls is reaffirmation of people’s faith in PM Narendra Modi’s leadership and Amit Shah’s organisational skills.
The BJP has won 181 wards, AAP 48 and Congress 30 wards and Others won 11 wards. Voting for 270 of the total 272 wards of the three municipal corporations– North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation–saw around 54 per cent voting on April 23, 2017. Election was countermanded in two wards following the death of candidates. Political analysts maintained that AAP would have had a chance if it had not put all its eggs in the Punjab basket. Delhi residents felt neglected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Grateful to the people of Delhi for the faith in BJP. I laud the hard work of team @BJP4Delhi which made the resounding MCD win possible.” “Delhi has rejected pessimistic politics and a politics of excuses ,” Shah said, commenting on the huge leap taken by his party in the Delhi civic polls, leaving AAP and Congress far behind in the race. However, after losing the Delhi election, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that the results indicate an “EVM wave, not Modi wave”. The party has decided to launch a national campaign against what it alleges are faulty Electronic Voting Machines.
Kejriwal met with his top lieutenants including deputy Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai as it became clear in early counting that AAP was losing in Delhi just two years after it came to power with a spectacular mandate in state polls. The leaders together watched the results on TV of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi or MCD elections . As exit polls had predicted, the BJP raced to a massive victory while AAP fought with the Congress for the number two spot. Sources say the party was not expecting a victory after its workers’ feedback from the ground a day after voting. Around 155 AAP members, who were at polling stations, reported to Kejriwal the next day of the polling.
Activist Anna Hazare on AAP’s performance in the MCD elections said: “There was a difference between what was said and what was done.” Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said: “We dedicate this win to CRPF jawans who lost their lives in Sukma attack and hope Delhi government works in coordination with municipal corporations for Delhi’s sake.” Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said: “We have made a reasonable comeback. I hoped for a better performance. Because I could not meet the expectations, I have decided to resign. For one year, I will not take up any post in the party and will work as a party worker.” Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken spearheaded the Congress challenge to revive its fortunes in the city where it had won three successive assembly elections till 2013.Former chief minister of Delhi Sheila Dikshit said the Congress should have campaigned aggressively to challenge the BJP, which appeared poised to retain control of Delhi’s civic bodies despite facing 10 years of anti-incumbency. AAP leader Ashutosh remarked: “It’s difficult to digest that despite halving electricity rates, giving water for free, improving schools and hospitals, people haven’t voted for AAP.” AAP minister Gopal Rai said that AAP winning or losing is a small thing, but if EVM decides democracy, then it is a dangerous trend.
Manoj Singh, a Delhi voter from Rohini, told Uday India, “It is true that BJP which held MCD for 10 years didn’t do much. But over the past two years Arvind Kejriwal has not fulfilled any of his poll promises.” “The results broadly confirm exit polls. BJP is headed for a big win,” he added. Another voter from Sarai Rohilla, Naredra Chanchal said, “AAP should quit the Delhi government and go for fresh elections, taking the MCD results as an indicator of the public disapproval. What has changed between 2015 and 2017? The only thing is the AAP government’s performance. People are angry with the Chief Minister and are electing the PM (Prime Minister Narendra Modi).”
For AAP, today’s loss means a political wipe-out. Chief Minister Kejriwal’s party, which had swept assembly elections in Delhi two years ago, is already reeling from humiliating losses in the Punjab and Goa assembly elections last month. The Congress had hoped today’s results would herald a political revival in Delhi for the party, which did not win a single seat in the Delhi assembly elections in 2015 or a Parliament seat the year before.
(Uday India Bureau)