Compliments poured in from various quarters as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) looked set to score a comprehensive win in the Delhi assembly elections by bagging 63 of its 70 seats on Tuesday, leaving the BJP with seven and the Congress at naught. Among them was Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who pointed at how party convenor Arvind Kejriwal had managed to return to power with a decisive mandate despite the rival BJP launching a vitriolic campaign against him.
“I congratulate Arvind Kejriwal and the people of Delhi for AAP’s victory in #DelhiPolls2020. People have shown that the country will be run by ‘Jan Ki Baat’, not ‘Mann Ki Baat’. BJP called Kejriwal a terrorist but couldn’t defeat him,” news agency ANI quoted Uddhav Thackeray as saying on Tuesday.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister was referring to how several BJP politicians, including MP Parvesh Verma and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, had repeatedly referred to Arvind Kejriwal as a “terrorist” during the stormy campaign in the run-up to voting day.
In an interview with NDTV earlier this month, Parvesh Verma had called the Delhi Chief Minister a “terrorist” for allegedly supporting protesters against the Citizenship Amendment Act at Shaheen Bagh. “If the Delhi Chief Minister calls the Prime Minister a desh drohi, he can be called a terrorist. If the Delhi Chief Minister stands with protesters at Shaheen Bagh who raise slogans of Pakistan zindabad, he can be called a terrorist. If the Delhi Chief Minister raises doubts over a surgical strike conducted by the country’s army on enemy territory, he can be called a terrorist,” he had told NDTV earlier this month.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who campaigned for the BJP, had accused the AAP government in Delhi of “serving biryani” to protesters at Shaheen Bagh.
However, AAP consistently maintained that it has no links with the Shaheen Bagh protesters and said that the centre — which controls the Delhi Police — is free to vacate them at will. It also accused the BJP of running a communally polarised campaign in an attempt to divide society for votes.
Aaditya Thackeray, Shiv Sena youth leader and Uddhav Thackeray’s son, termed the Delhi elections as the victory of good governance. “Leaving aside electoral issues, one must work and fulfil promises. We must steer clear of the level of politics which was there in the Delhi elections. I congratulate Delhi for giving a decisive mandate fearlessly. I congratulate Arvind Kejriwal,” he told ANI.
Although the final result can be expected only later today, a string of AAP leaders — including Manish Sisodia, Atishi and Raghav Chadha — have already won. The BJP’s performance this time seems to be only marginally better than 2015, when it won three seats.
The Shiv Sena was the BJP’s ally in Maharashtra until a dispute over sharing the chief minister’s position after the 2019 assembly elections drove them apart. Party chief Uddhav Thackeray then struck a deal with the Congress-NCP combine to form a coalition government in the state.
(With inputs from ANI)