Arvind Kejriwal did not do any press today. After his Aam Admi Party (AAP) lost big to the BJP in local elections in Delhi, Mr Kejriwal tweeted his congratulations to his political opponent and broke with his recent custom of blaming electronic voting machines or EVMs for the result.
- Aam Aadmi Party loses local elections in Delhi to BJP
- Arvind Kejriwal does not mention rigged voting machines today
- He has been lobbying against the machine as rigged for BJP
I congratulate BJP on their victory in all 3 MCDs. My govt looks forward to working wid MCDs for the betterment of Delhi- Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 26, 2017
The BJP has been chosen to run Delhi's three municipal corporations for a third consecutive term, despite its largely substandard record in ensuring garbage collection or preventing epidemics of dengue and chikungunya, which have emerged as fixtures of Delhi's health problems. There were few political leaders or commentators today who did not agree that the BJP's big haul -it improved its holding in each of the three corporations - is indebted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's mass connect, and to a possible spillover effect of the BJP's disproportionately large victory next door in Uttar Pradesh last month.
Today's result is serving as an understanding that Mr Kejriwal's approval ratings in his home base have dipped dangerously. Critics claim Delhi voters are angry at being taken for granted and served only in spare time. The 48-year-old Chief Minister spent most of last year pandering to the needs of his party's campaign in Goa and Punjab, states that AAP punted heavily on, wrongly as it turned out. Mr Kejriwal was especially confident that a groundswell of support in Punjab- his public meetings drew large, heavily-engaged audiences - would effect a breakout moment for AAP, allowing it influence well outside of the borders of Delhi.
He has affiliated the Punjab defeat to EVMS or electronic voting machines that he insists are a con job, working in the service of the BJP and with the cooperation of the Election Commission, which has denounced the entire range of his allegations. That EVMs are gamed is "a bitter truth" said his deputy, Manish Sisodia, who ran Delhi in Mr Kejriwal's absence. "You can mock us, but we cannot quit this campaign against EVMs," Mr Sisodia reasoned, claiming that democracy is at stake.
A senior minister, Kapil Mishra, presented a more reasoned strategy. "Yes, we have to reconnect with the people and understand reasons for this defeat" he said, in a rare acknowledgement that AAP may owe its defeat not to machines but to their users.
Barely two weeks ago, a by-election in Delhi augured the shape of things to come for Mr Kejriwal. His candidate placed last and so poorly that he lost his deposit. A unitary result may not have counted for so much had it not followed the trajectory of Punjab; there's also the inescapable contrast to 2015, when AAP mounted a phenomenal result, losing just three seats in Delhi.
With Inputs from PTI