The AAP was today handed a severe drubbing in the MCD polls by the BJP, triggering charges of “EVM manipulation” from the Arvind Kejriwal-led party amid murmurs of dissent within its ranks.
The BJP is headed for a landslide victory winning 103 wards while the Aam Aadmi Party and the Congress bagged 26 and 8 seats respectively in initial results of the municipal corporation elections.
The AAP’s humiliating defeat plunged it into a crisis even as its top leadership put up a brave front suggesting it was all expected due to tampering with EVMs, an allegation that has been rubbished by the Election Commission.
“EVM tampering is the bitter truth of the country’s democracy. One can crack jokes on us initially, but fearing being made fun of, we cannot refrain from speaking the truth,” Deputy Chief minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
However, a section of the party, including senior leaders, privately distanced themselves from the official line on pinning the entire blame for its defeat on alleged EVM manipulation.
The discontent within the party ranks is yet to come into the open, however, Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba’s offer to resign owing “responsibility” for the debacle indicated towards an impending churning.
Staring at a rout, merely two years into its astounding performance in the assembly polls, the party got into a huddle at Chief Minister Kejriwal’s residence to hammer out the next course of action, which may involve agitation over EVMs as already indicated by him.
The party had bagged 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.
Senior minister in the Delhi government Gopal Rai said an “EVM wave” is sweeping across the city, giving a new twist to political pundits attributing the BJP’s recent string of success to a “Modi wave”, or the popularity of the prime minister.
“This isn’t a Modi wave, this is an EVM wave. The same happened in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It is a major threat against democracy. The rights of the electorate will have to be ensured. The BJP wants to demolish democracy,” Rai told reporters.
Senior adviser to the AAP government, Nagendar Sharma, tweeted: “Sweeping Delhi MCD polls without sweeping Delhi’s streets for a decade. When machines are with you human will is of no relevance.”
Howver, admitting defeat, Delhi Water Minister Kapil Mishra, who lost three out of five wards in his constituency, said the newly elected MCDs and the Delhi government must now work in tandem for the betterment of the people.
The party’s near-certain defeat comes barely two weeks into its drubbing in the Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll and two years after it registered a thumping victory in the assembly polls winning 67 seats in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.