Election sweeteners can be so effective, perhaps no one knew before elections results for Delhi Assembly were announced on February 11. While political parties, mainly the BJP is alleging Kejriwal’s government did not do anything for the first 4 and ½ years and in the last six months of their term in office, it went on giving free water and free electricity and spruced up schools – fine-tuning and ironing out the hiccups in the system. Speaking to locals in Delhi a day before polling – divisions in the opinion seemed to suggest some truth in the allegations along with the spin-doctoring political opponents employ. From the obvious reactions of Delhi voters, it was expected that Kejriwal would win, but the size of his landslide victory – 62 seats of a 70-seat house, looked somewhat ‘wishful’.
But it is the result and an ecstatic and pleasantly surprised Kejriwal thanked Delhi saying, “you have done a wonder.. . I love you”.
The day was also his wife’s birthday and he thanked Delhi people for giving her such a precious lovely gift.
This is Kejriwal’s third election victory and with that he has equalled Sheila Dixit’s record of three wins before she became Chief Minister of Delhi.
The Congress party – which was never in any race – once again scored a “Duck”. The result for the Congress was so bad that 63 of his 66 candidates had their deposits forfeited which included many high profile names.
Although the BJP has managed to increase its vote share and wrested back five more seats than in 2015, it finished a very distant second. While AAP won all 12 seats reserved for SC candidates, and recorded a thumping win, the BJP continued to allege the election was “rigged” with “freebies”.
But the result has given hope to Kejriwal’s national ambitions once again. Veteran Sharad Pawar was quick to call for unity of regional powers and any invitation to Kejriwal will work like magic for him – who in the past has not managed to get his national leadership dream off ground.
As far now, the 51-year-old engineer-bureaucrat-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal, has shown – people’s issues like — inexpensive public education, health and low-cost electricity – are still so close to people’s hearts.
Kejriwal first rode to office in 2013 with outside support from the Congress but could not make it work and had to throw in the towel within days. But he redeemed himself with a stunning return to power in 2015. And this time, he has worked like a seasoned politician – very cleverly steering clear of “Shaheen Bagh” – to be not accused of trying to cash in on dissent to CAA 2019 which could have easily turned the Hindu vote away from AAP and Kejriwal. All his election interviews and election speeches were measured, calculated and trying to maximize votes without playing one against the other. It worked and delivered a landslide for him.
The BJP vote share rose by 6 per cent from 32.2 in 2015 to 38.5 in 2020. AAP, on the other hand, saw a fall of under 1 per cent.