‘AAP Bullet-Proof’ to ‘…BJP Feels Current’: What Today’s Newspapers Say About Kejriwal’s Victory


New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, an engineer, civil servant and Delhi’s man with a development agenda, took over the thrones of Delhi for the third time on Tuesday by getting 62 out of 70 constituencies into AAP’s kitty, leaving the Bharatiya Janata Party with seven and decimating the Congress.

While the Aam Aadmi Party seemed to go into a pre-2014 mood with the party head office sporting a large hoarding with the message: “Associate with AAP for nation building”. However, some experts opined that it will still take time for AAP national convenor to emerge as a “national leader”.

The experts said Kejriwal would need to have a pan-India base to establish himself as a national leader. The AAP is at present recognised by the Election Commission as a state party. It emerged as the principal opposition in Punjab in 2017. However, its national ambitions suffered a setback when its campaigns in Goa and in the last two Lok Sabha elections were unsuccessful. It won four Lok Sabha seats in Punjab in 2014 and just one in 2019, while Delhi voters rejected it both times.

Tracking down AAP’s entry into politics to party facing hiccups and then success, the leading newspapers on Wednesday reflected readers’ sentiments. Here’s a look at the top headlines:

Hindustan Times:

KEJRI WALI DILLI The story states: “….Kejriwal’s victory sparked celebrations among non-BJP regional parties, many of which are competing with the BJP in their own states. The BJP, which mounted an aggressive campaign primarily centred around the issue of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, or CAA, faced its second consecutive assembly loss — and a huge setback only nine months after it swept all of Delhi’s seven parliamentary constituencies with a vote share of over 50% in the last general elections. The BJP won eight seats, up from three in 2015, and 38.5% of the vote share, up from 32.3% in 2015. To be sure, the party contested only 67 seats with its allies contesting three. Last time, it contested all 70 seats. While it increased both the seat tally and the vote share, the BJP fell far short from mounting a challenge to the AAP, raising questions about its strategy in state elections.”

Times of India:

AAP Proves It’s Bullet-Proof In Delhi “AAP’s tally was just five seats short of 2015’s and its vote share fell by less than a percentage point – and this was in the face of incumbency. The brute majority and transformation of Kejriwal from an insurgent who gatecrashed Delhi’s political arena seven years ago into the city’s undisputed political boss will help restore his status as an important satrap among anti-BJP players. Unlike five years ago, when he had a support cast, AAP’s campaign this time was Kejriwal’s solo play.”

“For BJP, it is another setback. Though Kejriwal had widely appeared to be the overwhelming favourite, the saffron party, which had routed AAP in the Lok Sabha elections in May last year, had launched a no-holds-barred campaign spearheaded by its master strategist, home minister Amit Shah. Shah’s gambit in “nationalising” the local contest by focusing on CAA worked only partly. It helped raise the party’s vote share by 6.4 percentage points but could not stave off the embarrassment of finishing with a single-digit score for the second time running. It extended the run of disappointing shows for the BJP in assembly elections — in the 10 before Delhi, it formed governments in only Arunachal and Haryana.”

Indian Express:

Delhivered Overcoming a high-octane divise BJP campaign right in the middle of anti-CAA protests that rocked the Capital, Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party returned to power in Delhi Tuesday for the second five-year term at the head of another landslide.

Business Standard:

Delhi presses button, BJP feels the ‘current’ … AAP’s win on Tuesday is being seen as a verdict at a time when nationwide protests are being held against the amended citizenship law, including at the capital’s Shaheen Bagh. The BJP had made Shaheen Bagh the focus of its election campaign, appealing to residents of Delhi to vote out “terrorists”.

Telegraph:

Currentjriwal Crushing defeat of hate, Delhi presses button so hard that Shah-Modi, not Shaheen, feel the current.

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