STORY: Activists of India’s Aam Aadmi (common man) Party erupted in joy across the country after its landslide victory in New Delhi polls on Tuesday (February 10).
Hundreds of supporters of AAP thronged party’s regional offices, wearing their trademark boat-shaped white caps, wielding party symbol brooms and showered their leaders with flower petals.
An upstart anti-establishment, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), crushed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in an election for the Delhi assembly on Tuesday, smashing an aura of invincibility built around Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he swept to power last year.
The Aam Admi, led by former tax inspector Arvind Kejriwal and campaigning on a platform of pro-poor polices and clean government, is set to win 67 seats out of 70 seats in the Delhi assembly, the biggest ever tally for any party in the capital.
With the vote of the main national opposition Congress party collapsing, the Aam Aadmi, or Common Man Party, was set to capture nine-tenths of the seats in Delhi, in what Modi’s critics said was a warning against the partisan politics of Hindu hardliners in his fold.
Workers, volunteers and members of AAP across India who had worked tooth and nail for this election expressed their joy as the party nears to record a landslide victory in the capital.
Celebrations began soon after the poll trends indicated the party was heading to form a government in Delhi. Supporters in several cities busted firecrackers and danced to the beats of drums to express their joy.
“It is a victory of truth; it is a victory of Aam Aadmi (common man) party. It is victory of determination and not option. What Arvind Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party had resolved to change the politics and institution of the country, it is the victory of those resolutions,” said Mahesh Gokhale, a party worker in India’s central Bhopal city.
A state-unit party worker from northern India’s Uttar Pradesh, Arjun Singh, said this victory has sent a message to the youth of the country to build a corruption-free nation.
“We are so happy that people of India would not have been so happy since independence. This victory is a message for the youth to support Arvindji in transforming this country and make it corruption-free,” said Singh in Lucknow city.
Winning power in the states is critical to control of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of parliament, where Modi’s party lacks a majority and has been thwarted in its effort to pass reforms, including wider opening of the insurance sector.
Delhi is a small state, but high profile, and such a comprehensive defeat in the capital is a blow to the BJP’s ambitions to capture India’s second most populous state, Bihar, in an election later this year.
Elated party workers in western Nagpur city were seen packing sweets and distributing sweets to each other.
“This is really a landslide victory which we expected too. But we did not want to pre-empt, now we are very happy that we won this,” media coordinator for the party in southern Chennai city, Sandhyam, said.
Congress, the BJP’s main nationwide challenger, failed to win a single seat, underlining how far the Gandhi dynasty has fallen.
The BJP, seen as a party of traders and big business, had slumped to 3 seats, its worst showing ever, with its chief minister candidate and former cop Kiran Bedi losing her own seat.
Modi, who threw himself into the campaign, congratulated Kejriwal and said in a Twitter post he was ready to work with him for the development of the mega-city of more than 15 million people.
The BSE Sensex shrugged off the BJP’s defeat, rising more than 1 percent, as traders turned their sights to a reform-friendly budget that the Modi government is expected to unveil in parliament later this month.