Mamata Banerjee was one of the first opposition leaders to congratulate Mr Arvind Kejriwal today as his Aam Aadmi Party achieved a second sweeping victory in the Delhi assembly elections.
The mandate, coming at the end of a highly polarised campaign punctuated by threatening slogans, hate speeches and violence, has been seen by opposition leaders as a rejection of divisive politics. It has brought hope to Mamata Banerjee, who will have to counter the rapid advance of the BJP in the state during next year's assembly elections.
Last year, from a paltry two seats, the party won 18 of the state's 40 Lok Sabha seats. It has been busy expanding the niche since, but faced a setback in the recent moths with the loss in three by-elections in the state.
The BJP, which despite a massive campaign failed to advance to two-digit tally in Delhi, has dismissed the chances of the results to impact Bengal. But Mamata Banerjee blew the bugle, saying the BJP is slowly becoming stateless. Her Trinamool Congress celebrated as though AAP's victory were their own.
In her message to Arvind Kejriwal, Ms Banerjee said: "The BJP with all their might, money and agencies could not do anything. They have absolutely drowned, they have been pumelled. Across India, their empire is shrinking".
Her tweet on the matter read:
Congratulations @ArvindKejriwal as #DelhiResults show @AamAadmiParty all set to win #DelhiElection2020 with a thumping majority yet again. Leaders playing on faith through hate speech & divisive politics should take a cue, as only those who deliver on their promises are rewarded.
Congratulations @ArvindKejriwal as #DelhiResults show @AamAadmiParty all set to win #DelhiElection2020 with a thumping majority yet again. Leaders playing on faith through hate speech & divisive politics should take a cue, as only those who deliver on their promises are rewarded.— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) February 11, 2020
Trinamool cadres celebrated the Aam Admi Party's victory as if it was their own.
Flying to Bankura soon after, Mamata Banerjee launched her campaign for 2021. "The BJP is slowly becoming stateless. What do they have left? Out of big states, only UP and Karnataka. Everywhere else, they have been trounced," she told the locals at a rally.
Taking a further dig at the BJP, she said, "Just 8 months ago, there was election. They lost in Maharashtra, they lost in Jharkhand and they have lost in Delhi. Wherever there was an election, they have lost - crash boom".
The Bengal BJP chief Dilip Ghosh had a quick answer to that.
Reiterating his slogan from last year, he said, "Trinamool Congress 19-me half or Ikkis me saaf (The TMC got halved in 2019, and 2021 they will be decimated". There was no chance that Bengal would echo the Delhi results. "The dynamics are different," he said.
Mr Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee have walked similar paths for some time now. He was part of her Mahagathbandhan effort last January, ahead of the Lok Sabha election.
In May, both took a blow. The BJP made huge headway in Bengal and gained 16 Lok Sabha seats. It also retained all seven seats in Delhi.
On 9 January, both leaders skipped Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's meeting to brainstorm on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act. On January 30, Trinamool declared its support for Aam Admi Party in the Delhi polls.
Now that Mr Kejriwal has passed the Assembly test with flying colours, it is the turn of Mamata Banerjee, who also has the support of election strategist Prahsant Kishor.