BJP MP Parvesh Verma today said his party accepts the mandate given to Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) as leads showed the Delhi outfit winning 61 seats in the 70-member assembly. The BJP trails with nine seats, according to data on the Election Commission’s website.
Mr Verma, who was banned from campaigning twice for calling Mr Kejriwal a “terrorist”, however, took a swipe at AAP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who was earlier trailing at his constituency in east Delhi’s Patparganj to his rival from the BJP, Ravinder Singh Negi.
“If polls were conducted on education, then Delhi’s Education Minister wouldn’t be losing. Best wishes to AAP,” Mr Verma said, referring to the Kejriwal government’s highly publicised policies on improving infrastructure and pedagogy at schools, especially in the primary level.
Later, trends showed Mr Sisodia surging ahead of his rival, leading to an awkward situation for the BJP MP whose dare on winning election on the back of education policies appeared to have backfired.
“We haven’t formed government in Delhi for 21 years. It’s sad that we couldn’t highlight the Delhi government’s failures aptly… Our workers will work even harder,” Mr Verma said.
The BJP MP declined to comment on the protest going on at south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The BJP had made the protest a big campaign issue in the national capital.
The first ban on campaigning by Mr Verma came after he claimed that those who have dug in on a stretch of road at Shaheen Bagh against the amended citizenship law “will enter your houses, rape your sisters and daughters”. Hundreds of protesters led by women have set up camp at Shaheen Bagh for nearly two months now.
Mr Verma last week, before voting day, calling Mr Kejriwal a “terrorist” over the latter’s alleged support to Shaheen Bagh protesters.
The campaign for Delhi has been has been bitter and polarised, the political discourse bogged down by hate speeches. The BJP has been banking on the anti-CAA protests at Shaheen Bagh for a surge. The AAP has been hoping for its performance in health and education sectors and the free power and water will see it through.