New Delhi, Dec 8 IBNS | 12 months ago

A rag tag band of anti-corruption activists united under the symbol of a humble broom stole the show on Sunday, as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won a surprising 28 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections.


The just-over-a-year-old party led by convener Arvind Kejriwal emerged as the second biggest outfit, falling only a few seats short of the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and allies who managed 32 seats.

With the incumbent Congress party, that has ruled the state for 15 years, suffering a humiliating defeat with just 8 seats, and no party crossing the halfway mark, the fate of Delhi with an Assembly of 70 seats seemed uncertain.

The BJP's Arun Jaitley said the would decide in a couple of days whether to stake claim or not depending on whether it is able to gather legitimate support to bridge that deficit.

"If transparent support is not possible then constitutional process will take its course," he said, after a strategy meeting attended by senior BJP leaders, including party chief Rajnath Singh and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Delhi.

Delhi may be brought under President's Rule and preparations begun for fresh elections within six months if no party is able to probe a majority.

Alliances also seemed unlikely as Kejriwal ruled out accepting support from the BJP or the Congress, neither which are expected to support each other.

"It is a joke to suggest that we could take support from Congress...Let the Lt. Governor decide what happens in Delhi next. We will be a responsible opposition," Kejriwal told NDTV.

Kejriwal said for the first time an outfit was voted by common people who wanted to send a message to the corrupt national parties like Congress and BJP that votes can be won also by honesty.

Naming both Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the 44-year-old Kejriwal, who himself defeated three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit, said a election was won without muscle power and corruption.

"This is historic. So far it was the politics of muscle power, communalism and corruption . This is the first election based on truth and honesty," said Kejriwal.

"Till now the politics we talked about is goondaism and corruption. The results show that the people are tired of the corrupt practices of BJP and Congress," said Kejriwal.

"See who defeated whom and how. Who are these people? They are all common people. When the people of this country rise, they will uproot the corrupt parties," said Kejriwal.

"This victory is not the victory of me or our party. The people gave a message that people will throw them out if they do not change themselves," he said referring to Congress and BJP.

"For the first time a party gave every account of money collected on their website. We proved that we can fight polls with honesty and serve the country," he said.

"Democracy is rule of the people. So I urge all those who got elected to serve people. This is a fight on principle. This is a fight on issues," he said, adding that he has no personal enmity with Sheila Dikshit or any other personality.

Meanwhile, faced with the crushing defeat in Delhi as well as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh, Congress top leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said they have learnt from the people's message and would transform the party radically to embed the voice of the common people.

"The people sent us a message through these elections. I and Congress party have taken the message from heart and not just head," said Rahul Gandhi facing the journalists along with party chief Sonia Gandhi.

"We need to move to a paradigm where where have to give serious space to the common man," said Rahul Gandhi, adding that all his effort now will be in transforming the party and give people an organization with voice of common people embedded inside it.

"The Congress party has the ability to transform itself and stand up to the expectation of the people and Congress party will do that," he said.

On AAP's success, he said both the major parties are thinking about politics in a traditional way and it is time to start thinking politics in terms of empowerment of the people.

He said empowerment of people will be central to Congress now on.

"I think the AAP has involved a lot of people which the traditional parties did not do," adding that Congress will do it now.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit conceded defeat by filing her resignation with Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.

The three-time chief minister, who lost her own constituency by more than 20,000 votes to Kejriwal, snapped when asked about her continued dismissal of the AAP in the run up to the polls.

"Yes we were idiots," she said.

(Posted on 09-12-2013)