The Shiv Sena said on Wednesday that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections was the failure of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, not Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In an editorial in its mouthpiece Saamana, the party said that it was not surprised by the Aam Aadmi Party’s victory.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP secured 62 of the 70 seats in the Assembly polls, results for which were declared on Tuesday. The BJP won just eight seats, five more than it had won in 2015.

“Union Home Minister Amit Shah had made Delhi election a matter of honour, not Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” the editorial said. “JP Nadda recently took over the reins of the party, but the real impresario was Amit Shah. He wanted to win an election before his tenure as party president ended.”

The Shiv Sena said that the BJP had “lost” the Jharkhand as well as Maharashtra Assembly elections in the recent past. “AAP’s flag is fluttering in the national capital while a Shiv Sena chief minister [Uddhav Thackeray] is installed in the financial capital,” the editorial said.

The Thackeray-led party called BJP’s poll debacle a defeat of “ego, arrogance”, and a result of the idea that what the saffron party says must be followed. The Shiv Sena said that unlike Kejriwal’s campaign, which centred on the development his party had carried out in Delhi, the BJP tried to polarise the voters on communal lines.

“The BJP tried to build its poll campaign around issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act, and labelling the Shaheen Bagh protest in Delhi as an agitation by Muslims alone, but the electorate did not fall for such polarisation and voted in favour of Kejriwal,” Saamana asserted. The editorial said that unlike the BJP, AAP did not try to “fool” the people of Delhi.

The BJP had tried to portray the Delhi elections as a referendum on the protests. Shah had exhorted voters to “press the button” with such anger that the “current would be felt in Shaheen Bagh”. He had also asked voters whether they

The editorial pointed out that the BJP had won all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national Capital just last year. It also said that the fact that the Delhi Police and the law and order machinery in Delhi are not in Kejriwal’s hands actually worked to his advantage.