STORY: Chief of India’s Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal, was on Tuesday (February 10) elected the leader of legislature party, paving the way for him to become the Chief Minister of Delhi.
Upstart anti-establishment AAP crushed ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi elections, smashing an aura of invincibility built around Prime Minister Narendra Modi since he swept to power last year.
AAP won 67 seats out of 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly, the biggest ever tally for any party in the capital.
Kejriwal will take oath as the CM on Saturday (February 14), exactly an year after he resigned from power last year.
Overwhelmed with the thumping victory, AAP leaders said they would try to remain grounded.
“See our priority is to create a corruption-free society. That is our priority,” said leader of AAP, Ashutosh.
AAP captured more than nine-tenths of the seats in the capital, in what Modi’s critics said was a warning against the partisan politics of Hindu hardliners in his fold.
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 seat.
Another leader of AAP, Sanjay Singh, credited the party’s historic win to the hardworking party workers.
“The people of Delhi should be congratulated for this win who have given full support to Aam Aadmi party in the democracy. Our primary step is to work on issues which we have spoken about and fulfill promises that have been mentioned in our manifesto for the people of Delhi,” said Singh.
Congress, the BJP’s main nationwide challenger, failed to win a single seat, underlining how far the Gandhi dynasty has fallen since the party lost power federally in 2014.
Winning power in the states is critical to control of the Rajya Sabha (upper house of the 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.
A comprehensive rout in the capital is a blow to the BJP’s ambitions to capture India’s third most populous state, Bihar, in an election later this year.