The Delhi civic body may just be about one of the many wings of governance in the national capital, but the AAP win today holds much wider significance.
Here’s why the MCD win matters beyond Delhi:
A First Against BJP: This AAP win is the first time it has unseated the BJP in any election. Its victories in Delhi have either been against the Congress or just a vote of confidence while being in power already. In Punjab, too, it won against Congress early this year. “Such a small party has defeated the ‘world’s largest party’,” AAP’s Manish Sisodia said. Sanjay Singh added, “The BJP would always say AAP has only defeated Congress. Today, Arvind Kejriwal has given them an answer.”
Parallel polls: The Delhi election was being fought in parallel with assembly polls in two states where, too, the BJP is in power. The Delhi win gives AAP something to show, especially when the BJP had got its big guns out in the capital. The AAP’s slogan “Kejriwal’s government, Kejriwal’s corporator” rivalled the BJP’s similar pitch of “Modi’s double engine” — both building on their top leaders’ faces.
Delhi, plus some: In the two assembly poll results scheduled for tomorrow, AAP is predicted to make a dent in Gujarat, PM Narendra Modi’s home state. Arvind Kejriwal has said that winning 15-20 per cent vote in Gujarat would be a big achievement for a party that last month celebrated 10 years of its existence. In Himachal, it all but abandoned its campaign as energies were concentrated in Delhi and Gujarat.
Taking on Narendra Modi: In Gujarat, Arvind Kejriwal was pitted directly against PM Modi, who held over two dozen rallies. It was a rare time that Mr Kejriwal ended up in this personality battle — something he had avoided or abandoned over the years, particularly after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections gave PM Modi a second term. After the Punjab win this year, AAP is going big again on its national ambitions, even targeting the BJP’s core Hindutva vote. This means the Kejriwal-vs-Modi contest is an imperative, in conditions very different from their 2014 Varanasi poll battle.
On the street: At the mohalla level in Delhi, AAP’s victory means it has more works under its control. Of these, garbage-collection was a main election plank. Large tracts of roads and streetlights, too, fall under the MCD, as do primary schools. This means Arvind Kejriwal can gather more points for his “Delhi model of governance” ahead of bigger battles. But this can mean more bad blood between the AAP and the BJP-ruled Centre, which continues to control land, police and some other key matters in Delhi through the Lieutenant Governor.
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