The office of Delhi BJP wore a sombre look as Assembly poll results trickled in on Tuesday dashing the party’s hopes of returning to power in the national capital after more than two decades.
While early trends showed the party leading in 19 seats, party spokespersons and debate panellists were busy interacting with print and electronic media and maintained that the tally will rise.
But the numbers continued to drop, belying their expectations.
“We did not expect this. Although our leaders said that the BJP will form the government, a decent number of seats was expected by all of us,” said a senior office bearer of the state unit.
By noon, it was clear that Aam Aadmi Party had swept the assembly election for the second consecutive time.
Delhi BJP convener of media team for elections Ashok Goyal, however, said he expected an improvement, even as the party was leading in less than 15 seats out of 70.
“Our vote percentage has improved. There are 15-18 seats on which our candidates are trailing by thin margins so it would be too early to say anything,” he said.
Posters were also seen at the party office featuring its leader Amit Shah’s pictures with a message that the party neither becomes arrogant with victory nor gets disheartened with defeat.
“Vijay se hum anhakari nahi hote, haar se hum hatash nahi hote (Victory doesn’t make us arrogant, and defeat doesn’t dishearten us),” the posters read.
Mr Shah was the force behind the BJP’s high octane campaign in the national capital, where the party had deployed more than 200 of its MPs, Union ministers and many chief ministers.
As the final tally emerged, the BJP managed to win just eight seats in the Delhi Assembly. Two of the three sitting MLAs, including Leader of Opposition in outgoing Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, retained their seats.
Mr Gupta, a former Delhi BJP president, won from Rohini defeating his AAP rival by 12,648 votes.
“My victory is due to the hard work of party workers and senior leaders who supported my campaign. Rohini people reposed faith in the work I have done in the constituency,” he said.
OP Sharma retained the Vishwas Nagar seat for the third time in a row. However, Jagdish Pradhan, sitting MLA from Mustafabad, lost to his AAP rival.
The victory margin of BJP candidate in Laxmi Nagar — Abhay Verma — a Purvanchali and vice president of Delhi unit was the smallest among all winners in the party. Mr Verma defeated sitting AAP MLA Nitin Tyagi by a thin margin of 880 votes.
Ajay Mahawar, district president of North East Delhi, won by a margin of 28,370 votes, the highest for BJP candidates, in Ghonda constituency. He defeated sitting AAP MLA Sridutt Sharma.
Anil Bajpayi, who quit the AAP to join the BJP during Lok Sabha polls last year, retained Gandhi Nagar seat. He was disqualified as a member of the Assembly under anti-defection law.
Mr Bajpayi defeated his AAP rival Navin Chaudhary and former Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely. He won by 16,457 votes.
Badarpur candidate Ramvir Singh Bidhuri defeated AAP’s Ram Singh Netaji in a cliff hanger by a thin margin of 3,719 votes.
Other BJP winners included Mohan Singh Bisht from Karawal Nagar. He defeated senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak by 8,223 votes. Jitender Mahajan defeated sitting AAP MLA on Rohtas Nagar seat Sarita Singh by 13,241 votes.