The initial trends from the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD) elections indicate that the prediction of exit polls of a demise for the Aam Aadmi Party have turned out to be correct.
The BJP is all set to come to power in the municipal corporation for the third time in a row. See updated results in the table on the right. (Please refresh the page to see latest results.)
According to two exit polls, the BJP is expected to take about 200-220 out of the 272 seats to the municipal body, while the remaining seats are expected to be equally divided between the Congress Party and the Aam Aadmi Party.
The results could portend the end of the short political career of Arvind Kejriwal, an ex-Indian Revenue Service official who started Parivartan, an NGO aimed at combating corruption.
Kejriwal shot to prominence as the ‘first among equals’ in ‘Team Anna’, a group of social activists who helped organize massive anti-corruption agitations in India in 2012 and 2013.
He was also instrumental in the formation of Aam Aadmi Party, a political party whose stated aim was to deliver clear and transparent governance in a country where politics is not considered a gentleman’s profession.
Taking everyone by surprise, Aam Aadmi Party managed to put up a strong showing in its first election by winning 28 out of the 70 seats in the Delhi Legislative Assembly.
It also formed an unstable government with the support of the Congress Party, which lasted less than a year. In the subsequent elections, the party won 67 out of the 70 seats in the assembly, an unprecedented feat in the political history of India.
However, Kejriwal faced problems in getting along with his compatriots such as Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and others, whom he suspected of plotting to overthrow him.
He managed to have these leaders ejected from the party, in the process losing a lot of good will and supporters who had been with the AAP from day one.
The MCD elections mark the first time that Kejriwal is facing the electorate after this episode.
It is also considered to be a ‘referendum’ on his performance in the Delhi government so far. The state is yet to get a Lokpal — the single biggest electoral promise made by AAP — even as almost three years have passed since the government came to power.
Kejriwal has used taxpayer money to reduce people’s electricity and water bills, and has often claimed that this was the highlight of his government.
However, people who vote for the AAP expecting a total turnaround in the ‘system’ have been left disappointed by the incremental improvement delivered by the government.
Meanwhile, Prashant Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav and others have formed an alternative party by the name of Swaraj India, which also contested the elections.