The BJP retained power in the city’s three municipalities for a third consecutive term on Wednesday, in what was an overwhelming rejection of the Aam Aadmi Party just two years after it won a brute majority in the Delhi assembly elections.
Prime Minister Narender Modi’s popularity as wess as a decision to drop most of its sitting councillors helped the BJP buck anti- incumbency and tighten its grip over the civic bodies it first won 10 years ago.
The Elections carry wider national ramifications. An emphatic victory only adds to the BJP’s image of invincibility and leaves a divided opposition further demoralised in the run upto the national polls in 2019.
But the setback was the worst for AAP chief and Delhi Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
With the verdict seen as a referendum on his government, the polls were a matter of prestige for him. The defeat called into question his ability to win elections after the AAP’s loss in Goa and Punjab polls last month.
Asplit in the opposition votes helped the BJP, which saw a marginal drop in vote share over 2012. The combined share of the AAP (26.21%) and Congress (21.09%) was more than that of the BJP’s (36.08%).
The AAP also failed to hold on to its supporters among Purvanchalis and minorities.
For the BJP the victory was sweet revenge for its loss to the AAP in 2015 Delhi polls when the latter won 67 of 70 seats.