New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, emerging from a debilitating election in Delhi, today listed a series of dos and don'ts for the 48 candidates from his party that have been elected to Delhi's Municipal Corporation. Be vigilant, be honest, be brave, he counselled. Also be sure to secretly record any offers made by the BJP to switch sides, he says in a nearly 10-minute-long video posted on YouTube.
- Arvind Kejriwal and AAP lost Delhi local election to BJP
- He addresses the 48 candidates who were successful
- Leads them in oath that pledges not to betray AAP
"They may offer you a lot of money, even upto 10 crores," he said, "but if you take this, you will regret it, pay a heavy price all your life." He ends his address by leading his audience in an oath which amounts to "With God as my witness, I pledge never to ditch this pure party or betray the (anti-corruption) movement."
The oath - which he says is not a formality - comes as his party is being in-boxed several resignations by senior leaders.
The BJP clinched the local election - results were counted yesterday - with such strength that Mr Kejriwal and top leaders from his Aam Aadmi Party or AAP today came to the conclusion that it is, at this point, tough to compete against the "growing stature" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose personal appeal to voters is seen as the main reason for his party's huge score. The BJP, which held all three corporations of Delhi for the last 10 years, won them again - and with more seats.
At a post-mortem called this morning, AAP concluded that its rejection in the latest election was due in part to the "spillover effect" of the BJP's gigantic result in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh last month. There, too, it was the Prime Minister whose appeal was unmatchable.
This month's local election in the capital is the first that AAP contested - it was founded in 2012 and formed the government for the first time in 2014. After less than two months in office, Mr Kejriwal resigned in protest against his anti-corruption proposal being stalled by other parties. It was an impulsive decision that he later apologised for. In 2015, months after PM Modi was elected, elections in Delhi were called again and Mr Kejriwal pulled off a jaw-dropping result, with AAP losing just three seats in the entire city.
AAP's weak No 2 in the local election comes as the party has been bruised by electoral punches in Goa and Punjab, where Mr Kejriwal campaigned furiously. He has blamed rigged electronic voting machines or EVMs for his defeat in Punjab, and demanded unsuccessfully that the local election be conducted by ballot paper instead.