Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Atishi, who lost the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat to BJP's Gautam Gambhir by over 4.7 lakh votes in an unequal three-cornered race for the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat, today congratulated her rival in a tweet and indicated that she was open to putting aside the bitter exchange of words that marked the closing stages of their election campaigns.
The 37-year-old AAP member also offered to collaborate with the cricketer-turned-politician "for the betterment of East Delhi", considering that it was the first time he had won a parliamentary election.
"Congratulations @GautamGambhir! People of East Delhi have reposed their trust in you. I will always be available for help and collaboration for the betterment of East Delhi. All the best!" she wrote as the first in a series of four messages.
Congratulations to @GautamGambhir! People of East Delhi have reposed their trust in you. I will always be available for help and collaboration for the betterment of East Delhi. All the best! (1/4)— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) May 23, 2019
Would also like to thank the volunteers of @AamAadmiParty who gave their heart and soul to my campaign! All of you are amazing! It gives me a great sense of hope that so many people, from different walks have life have come together to bring change in this country (3/4)— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) May 23, 2019
She also thanked the people of the constituency for their "love and affection", and party workers for giving their "heart and soul" for her campaign.
Although Mr Gambhir is yet to respond to her messages, he had earlier attacked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a tweet. "Arvind Kejriwal has lost his reputation and faith in this election, and he will lose power in 8 months! AAP may have spread a lot of mud in Delhi, but the same 'kamal' will take root here!!" his tweet in Hindi read. The BJP leader has referred to Mr Kejriwal as "filth" in the past.
Earlier this month, Atishi had accused the former cricketer of distributing pamphlets with derogatory remarks and sexist comments aimed at her. After revealing the shocking contents of the pamphlet, she had asked, "I have only one question for Gautam Gambhir. If he is doing this against one woman, what about the lakhs of women in East Delhi who are worried about their safety?"
Mr Gambhir responded with a series of aggressive messages targeting the AAP leader as well as the Delhi Chief Minister. Speaking to NDTV, he also alleged that the pamphlets were circulated by AAP. "They were the ones who distributed the pamphlets. It has been there for a long time... tactics to malign someone's image. I'm sure nobody from the BJP has ever been involved in something like this," he said.
Subsequently, both parties exchanged legal notices for defamation.
The BJP has made a clean sweep of Delhi's seven Lok Sabha seats in a repeat of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Overall leads also show the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has secured a clear majority by winning 351 seats across the country. The BJP has crossed 300 on its own, which is better than the 282 it won in 2014.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had thanked the nation in a tweet and praised party workers for their "determination, perseverance and hard work".
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