The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday said the Delhi Assembly election results indicated that the “real nationalism is to work for the people”, reported NDTV. As of 3.22 pm, AAP had won three seats, and was leading in 60 others out of 70 Assembly seats. The Bharatiya Janata Party was ahead in seven seats, according to the Election Commission.
“Our victory will prove that real patriotism is that if you get the opportunity in politics, you must work for people,” said Manish Sisodia. “Work on education, hospitals... Delhi will prove that if a government works sincerely, then it can win.”
AAP’s Okhla candidate Amanatullah Khan said the party’s victory was a win for governance and a defeat of hatred. Okhla is a Muslim-dominated constituency that has been the epicentre of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and proposed National Register of Citizens.
Congress leader P Chidambaram lauded AAP’s performance and said voters in the national Capital had “defeated the polarising, divisive and dangerous agenda of the BJP”.
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha said the biggest takeaway from the Delhi Assembly election result is that a “poisonous” campaign and statements will not work, reported PTI.
“We are not at all disappointed, people have given their mandate [for AAP],” said Jha, whose party had contested four seats in Delhi in alliance with the Congress. The alliance is unlikely to win even a single seat. “The biggest message is for the BJP that poisonous campaign and statements will not work.”
Jha said the message has also gone to Bihar and the rest of the country. Assembly elections in Bihar are due later in the year. “Hopefully, the BJP would do course correction and ask its leaders to shun divisive politics,” said the Rajya Sabha MP said.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the BJP had got a “befitting reply” for torturing students and women in Delhi, PTI reported. She said the party was losing one state after another, and would soon lose all states under its rule. She said the BJP was becoming “stateless”. “It will face similar results in 2021 Assembly polls in Bengal,” she said. “Only development initiatives will click [with people], CAA [Citizenship Amendment Act], NRC [National Register of Citizens] and NPR [National Population Register] will be rejected.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, notified in January, has led to nationwide protests since December for being discriminatory towards the Muslim community. Critics of the new citizenship law fear it will be used along with the National Register of Citizens – a proposed nationwide exercise to identify undocumented migrants – to harass and disenfranchise Muslims. The population register is a list of “usual residents” in the country, and has been described as “the first step towards the creation of a NRC”.
Prashant Kishor, who was expelled from the Janata Dal (United) recently, tweeted: “Thank you Delhi for standing up to protect the soul of India!” Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury congratulated Arvind Kejriwal, and said: “BJP politics of hate and violence given befitting reply.”
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav told ANI: “I thank the people of Delhi who rejected the politics of hate, betrayal and destruction. After the result of this election, BJP will not remember any Bagh.”
The Delhi election took place after nearly two months of protests against the Narendra Modi government’s controversial amendments to India’s citizenship law, which critics say undermine the country’s secular foundations. The protests have seen the participation of students and citizens of all communities.
The campaign for Delhi has been bitter and polarised. The BJP had sought to portray the protests as violent in a bid to polarise the electorate on religious lines. The main target of its campaign was Shaheen Bagh. The locality was barely known within Delhi until its women residents decided to sit down on a road in December to protest against the Citizenship Act.
The BJP had attempted to portray the Delhi elections as a referendum on the ongoing protests, particularly at Shaheen Bagh. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, had hit out at the Shaheen Bagh protests. Modi had called the protests a “conspiracy”, where the real agenda is being obscured by using the tricolour and the Constitution as symbols. A Union minister exhorted a crowd at a rally to shout “shoot the traitors”, while a BJP MP called Kejriwal a “terrorist” and claimed the Shaheen Bagh protestors would rape and murder women.