Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) suffered a humiliating defeat today in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections. This may not have been unexpected. However, what may have come as a surprise for political observers is Arvind Kejriwal's response to the MCD election results and AAP's poor show.
In a tweet, after the MCD election results were announced, Arvind Kejriwal congratulated BJP on its win and assured it of cooperation in the interest of the national capital.
I congratulate BJP on their victory in all 3 MCDs. My govt looks forward to working wid MCDs for the betterment of Delhi
Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 26, 2017 Of the 270 seats, AAP won just 48. Congress came on the third position bagging 29 seats while BJP won a whopping 182 seats. It also won all the three corporations.
Kejriwal's first reaction to the MCD election results was indeed unexpected. One had expected that immediately after the MCD elections results were declared, Arvind Kejriwal and senior AAP leaders would announce a massive nationwide movement or at least at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
Arvind Kejriwal was expected to once again blame the "rigged EVMs" and "biased" Election Commission (EC) for AAP's defeat. The agitation would have been called to protest EVMs and EC.
ARVIND KEJRIWAL'S U-TURN
However, in a sudden volte face, Kejriwal did not utter a word on EVMs. He perhaps gauged the mood of the voters and made a quick withdrawal from his stated position.
But in the process he sought to render a massive damage to the image of a constitutional body like the Election Commission and the impartiality of elections through EVMs. As the MCD election results show, Kejriwal may have clearly failed to convince the voters about the chances of rigging the EVMs, but he may have sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of some.
The question is: Will Arvind Kejriwal say sorry to the Election Commission?
Because just on April 24, a day after MCD elections were held and the exit polls had predicted BJP's sweep, Arvind Kejriwal had threatened to launch a massive agitation. He had said AAP would return to movement if the results were on the lines of the exit polls.
In a meeting of senior AAP leaders, he had said: "Now if we lose on Wednesday... if the results are what were being said last night (referring to exit polls), toh hum eent se eent baja denge."
He also said AAP was born out of a movement and it would not hesitate in returning to it.
The Delhi Chief Minister has been blaming the Election Commission for "EVM tampering" and alleging that its only aim appeared to be to bring the BJP to power.
Ahead of the MCD elections, he had used the Mahabharata analogy and said "Chunaav aayog Dhritarashtra ban gaya hai jo apne bete Duryodhan ko saam daam dand bhed karke satta mein pohuchana chahta hai" (Election Commission has become Dhritarashtra who wants to ensure his son Duryodhana gets power at any cost).
EVM TAMPERING CONTROVERSY
Even on the day MCD elections were held, Kejriwal had raked up the alleged "EVM tampering" controversy.
Kejriwal has been harping on the alleged tampering of EVMs since its defeat in Punjab and Goa Assembly elections. He continued with his tampered EVM theory till the MCD elections.
But today, he has not uttered a word about it. On the contrary, unlike the Punjab election results, he has respected the people's mandate in MCD elections.
The next couple of days would indicate whether Arvind Kejriwal has finally realised that the negative politics which he practiced so far yielded diminishing returns and that he is on course correction.