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NEW DELHI: In what many had termed the `semi-final’ before the next year’s parliamentary elections, the BJP routed the ruling Congress in all the four states whose election results were announced on Sunday.
But it was the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that created tremors in Indian politics by coming close to forming government in Delhi where it made an unprecedented debut in Indian electoral politics.
Led by IITian Arvind Kejriwal, who left the Indian Revenue Service to join public life and last year accepted the challenge of the Congress to stand for elections and win, the AAP won 28 seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly.
The AAP not only ousted the Congress which had ruled Delhi since 1998 but also denied the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – which bagged 31 seats – an outright majority in the Delhi assembly.
Kejriwal himself inflicted a huge defeat on Chief minister Sheila Dixit when he routed her by 25,864 votes – a sort of record.
Formed on Nov 26, 2012, after Kejriwal broke away from Anna Hazare to enter politics, the Aam Aadmi Party has slayed the giant on its electoral debut.
Choosing `broom’ as its electoral symbol, the AAP promised to cleanse system from corruption, making women safety, and high power and water tariffs as its main plank.
The AAP ran an unprecedented poll campaign using the social media to a telling effect. Enthused by its novelty, the youth, students and general citizenry came out in support of the party. Its supporters held street concerts and plays, they put up posters on auto-rickshaws, they went from door to door, they put up banners across Delhi’s numerous flyovers and brought out voters by posting dedicated workers in all areas.
On the day the Aam Aadmi Party created ripples in Indian politics, the BJP retained power in Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh by winning 165 seats in the 230-member MP assembly and 49 seats in the 90-member Chattisgarh assembly. The BJP also virtually wiped out the Congress in Rajasthan by winning 162 seats in the 199-member state assembly.
At her post-results media conference, Congress president Sonia, flanked by her son and heir-apparent Rahul Gandhi, tried to bolster the morale of the party when she said, “General elections are quite different. People in state elections do focus on personality at the state level, at leaders who are likely to lead them.’’ General elections are due in May 2014.
Rahul Gandhi added, “People have given us a message, which we have heard.”
Whether the Congress will announce him as their prime ministerial candidates, Sonia Gandhi said, “We will make a statement. The party has to decide. The party will decide at the opportune time.’’