Congress And BJP Won A State Each. Why Arvind Kejriwal Is Ecstatic

AAP said it would form government in Gujarat, but targets were more pragmatic actually, and appear to have been achieved: getting 'national party' status

New Delhi/Ahmedabad:

Zero in Himachal Pradesh and single digits in Gujarat — these numbers for the AAP don't really stack up against the claims it made. But they work in the larger plan of Arvind Kejriwal's party as the vote share is enough to give it 'national party' status. Celebrations were on at the party offices, particularly at the Delhi headquarters, where buntings were already in place after Wednesday's Delhi civic poll win. 

Mr Kejriwal said, in a video message: "Gujarat's people have given us the national status that only  a few parties have... It's an amazing achievement for a small, young party."

Party leader Sanjay Singh moved to the next step already. "Now it will be Narendra Modi versus Arvind Kejriwal in 2024 (Lok Sabha polls)," he said, "It's a feat to be recognised as a national party in just 10 years," he added, "AAP is the the fastest growing political party in India."

Party status update, explained

In Gujarat, the AAP vote share is constantly hovering above 10 per cent. This will be the fourth state where it gets over 6 per cent — fulfilling a key criterion to be recognised as a national party. It needs to win just two seats now, and that'll ensure the big landmark for a party that last month celebrated 10 years of its inception.

The party has governments in Delhi and Punjab and thus has 'state party' status. It got that in Goa, too, early this year after winning two seats and 6.77 per cent votes. With Gujarat, it will join the list of national parties that at present has eight parties, with the BJP and Congress being the largest.

The AAP charted a straightforward agenda for itself after the mega win in Punjab: Replace the Congress and defeat the BJP.

The 'status' thus comes also in the backdrop of municipal polls in Delhi that marked the first time AAP unseated the BJP in a direct contest at any level.

Arvind Kejriwal's deputy, Manish Sisodia, also pointed towards his party's new 'status', and tweeted: "For the first time, education and health issues are making a mark in national politics."

AAP performance today

The AAP had made claims of forming the government in Gujarat, but its targets were more pragmatic, and appear to have been achieved. Arvind Kejriwal had said that the party would be happy if it got 15-20 per cent vote share in Gujarat.

In Himachal, it is barely getting 1 per cent of the votes in a direct fight between the ruling BJP and a confident Congress. It had all but abandoned its campaign in the hill state — after initial excitement upon winning neighbouring Punjab — and chose to concentrate on Delhi civic polls, which it has won, and Gujarat.