- BJP MP Gautam Gambhir won his debut election from East Delhi last year
- BJP tried its best but "could not convince people": Gautam Gambhir
- "We accept Delhi election results, congratulate Arvind Kejriwal," he said
BJP leader Gautam Gambhir this afternoon said that his party has conceded defeat in Delhi where Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is headed for a massive win as counting of votes proceeds for high-stakes assembly elections. The BJP tried its best but "could not convince people" of the national capital, the cricketer-turned politician, who won his debut election from east Delhi last year, said and congratulated Mr Kejriwal.
"We accept Delhi election results and congratulate Arvind Kejriwal and the people of Delhi," the 38-year-old BJP MP told news agency ANI.
"We tried our best but, probably, we could not convince the people of the state. I hope Delhi develops under the chief ministership of Arvind Kejriwal," Mr Gambhir said.
The remark by Mr Gambhir - who had defeated AAP's Atishi Marlena last year in Lok Sabha elections in east Delhi - came hours after Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari had said that his party would come to power after winning "up to 55 seats" in the 70-member assembly.
"We will win 48-plus seats. I will not be surprised even if we win 55," Manoj Tiwari told reporters this morning, rejecting exit poll predictions of AAP winning a third straight term. The BJP was believed to have banked on a last-minute surge in voting, which, the party felt, would have worked in its favour.
As counting of votes proceeded and the AAP headed for a two-thirds majority, Mr Tiwari later urged his party workers to "not be disheartened".
BJP leader Parvesh Varma, pulled for delivering hate speeches during poll campaign, also conceded defeat. "I accept the result. We will work hard and give a better performance in the next elections," he told ANI.
Delhi saw a bitter election campaign revolving around the Shaheen Bagh protest against the citizenship law as the BJP tried to make a comeback in the national capital after two decades and the AAP sought a third consecutive term.
(With inputs from ANI)