The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) recorded its maiden victory in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections on Wednesday, winning 134 seats and ending the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) 15-year term at the helm of the civic body. However, with 104 seats in hand, the BJP suggested that it would still have a say in choosing the capital’s next mayor.
The results indicated a neck-to-neck contest between the two parties. Early trends showed the BJP taking the lead, but the AAP soon edged past to clinch the victory. In vote share terms, only three percentage points separated the two parties, while the Congress was left far behind.
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal promised to live up to the people’s mandate. “Today, Delhi has entrusted their son with the job of cleaning this city’s garbage, eradicating corruption from the municipality and putting all parks back in shape. I can’t ever pay back for this love but I will do whatever it takes to fulfil every single responsibility with utmost care,” he said.
The high-stakes civic poll was the city’s first since three erstwhile municipal corporations were merged to constitute a unified MCD in May. The total number of municipal wards were also reduced from 272 to 250, as part of a delimitation exercise.
In the 2017 civic polls, the BJP had swept 181 of the 272 seats, with a vote share of 36.08%, while the AAP, which was contesting its debut elections in the city, secured only 48 seats along with a vote share of 26.23%.
In the 2022 MCD elections, the BJP’s seats dwindling down to 104 despite an actual increase in vote share to 39.1%, while the AAP’s victory came on the back of a 42% vote share.
Reacting to the party’s loss, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said that the people of Delhi had given the saffron party the responsibility of being a “strong Opposition”. He added, “We will constructively keep raising the issues of the general public.”
Meanwhile, the Congress’ hopes of a surprise comeback fell flat after the party secured only nine seats, out of the 247 that it contested. This continues the Congress’ decline in the city; in the 2012 and 2017 civic polls, it had snagged 77 and 31 seats respectively. The party’s vote share in 2022 was only 11.68%, a massive dip from its 2017 figure of 21.09%.
Out of the Capital’s 1.45 crore voters, more than 73 lakh cast their ballots in the MCD polls, out of which 57,545 chose the None of the Above or NOTA option. The AAP’s Aaley Mohamed Iqbal secured the Chandani Mahal ward with the highest winning margin of 17,134 votes, while in the Chittaranjan Park ward, the AAP’s Ashu Thakur squeaked through with the lowest winning margin of just 44 votes.