New Delhi: In a mega political bender, rookie politician Arvind Kejriwal has defeated three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in her constituency of New Delhi. (Mango man Arvind Kejriwal tastes sweet success)
The 44-year-old emerged after hours of meditation at his party office, wearing his trademark white Gandhi cap. "This is a victory of the people...it shows India has won, democracy has won," he said to a huge crowd of supporters, all brandishing brooms, the symbol of his one-year-old Aam Aadmi party.
Voters mercilessly spurned Ms Dikshit and her party, permitting the incumbent Congress less than 10 of Delhi's 70 seats. The BJP has emerged as the single-largest party in the capital with 34 seats, one short of the half-way mark. If the results deliver a hung assembly for Delhi, Mr Kejriwal is emphatic that he will not align with either the Congress or the BJP. (All you wanted to know about Sheila Dikshit but didn't know who to ask)
The symmetrical stellar performances of Mr Kejriwal and his AAP imputed a double take the Congress and the BJP, who repeatedly dismissed the new organization as an upstart throughout the campaign for Delhi.
Ignoring those dismissals, an army of meticulously-organized volunteers spread Mr Kejriwal's message: that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stands for anti-corruption, service and accountability in a country robbed of effective and clean governance.
The record 65.86% turnout in Delhi is being attributed partly to an enthusiastic welcome for the AAP, formed after Mr Kejriwal split from his one-time partner Anna Hazare. In 2011, they invigorated middle class India with a movement demanding the Lopkal bill, the genesis for a new national ombudsman or Lokpal empowered to investigate charges of venality against elected representatives and bureaucrats.
But after a strong launch, the movement dissipated; Mr Kejriwal said he had no choice but to enter politics, a move Anna said he could not get behind.