With Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) set to win 63 seats, it now seems appears certain that the 'broom' is set to retain power while BJP might have to remain content with minor increment in its tally. The contest for political power over the national capital was a bipolar one with the Congress nowhere in the reckoning.
But, the Congress, which ruled Delhi for 15 years, on Tuesday stared at the dubious distinction of scoring a duck for the second consecutive time in assembly elections and being reduced to a fringe player in the national capital's politics.
The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday appeared to be heading back to power for a second term in Delhi with the party set to win in 63 seats of the 70 and the BJP ahead in 7 as votes for last week's assembly elections were counted, according to Election Commission figures.
The Congress, like 2015, remains without a seat in the assembly -- so far -- but this time with even less vote share. According to data by Election Commission of India, AAP was leading on 63 seats with 53.23 per cent vote share, looking set for a third term in the Delhi assembly. The 'broom' (AAP's symbol) was followed by BJP which was leading in 7 seats and had a vote share of 38.73 per cent. While Congress had a vote share of 4.29 percent.
As the results came in, criticism of the Congress' Delhi unit started gaining traction and many leaders called for "action" rather than introspection. In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, the Congress had a vote share of 9.7 per cent against the BJP's 32.7 per cent and the AAP's 54.34 per cent. Congress's vote share dropped from 40.31 percent in 2008 to 24.67 percent in 2013. Between 1998 and 2008, the Congress was elected with more than 40 per cent vote share. While the BJP''s vote share in 1998, 2003 and 2008 was 34.02 per cent, 35.22 per cent and 36.33 per cent, and that of Congress was 47.76 per cent, 48.13 per cent and 40.30 per cent respectively.
But, fears of the Congress not having a credible face, after the death of its three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit last July, and ceding its vote bank to the Aam Aadmi Party came true with the Arvind Kejriwal-led party capturing the space once occupied by the grand old party.
In what ended up being a bipolar contest between the AAP and the BJP, the Congress was trailing at a distant third on almost all the city's 70 seats with many candidates facing the ignominy of losing their deposits. The Congress' nostalgia-steeped campaign, centred around the development done by Dikshit in her 15-year tenure as chief minister, failed to enthuse voters with several asking questions of the party on leadership and its future strategy for Delhi.
The Congress had been in power in Delhi for three straight terms between 1998-2013 with Dikshit as the chief minister. The AAP's rise has been a major factor in the Congress' decline, from being a dominant force in the national capital to being a marginal player. The AAP's capture of the anti-BJP vote has been complete in this election with the Kejriwal-led party taking a large chunk of the Congress vote share.
The Congress has accepted defeat in the Delhi Assembly polls and vowed to rebuild and revive itself at the grassroots level in the national capital.