The exit polls are out and Arvind Kejriwal and the the Aam Aadmi Party seem to have officially arrived. Though just a year old, the party's performance in the 2013 Delhi Assembly Elections appear to be phenomenal if the exit polls are accurate.
A whopping 27 percent of voters said that they want Kejriwal to become the next Delhi chief minister. The CNN-IBN/The Week survey conducted by CSDS has also said that the party may get between 13 and 21 seats in Delhi.
If the AAP gets that many seats though, they won't make it to the CM's seat, but they will be able to sustain their campaign against BJP and Congress for the next five years.
So what got AAP's ball rolling?
Vijaya Pushkarna of The Week says, "AAP and Kejriwal represent the public's disenchantment with the current government. People who rallied behind him last year may have turned into votes. Kejriwal has carried on and sustained his campaign even though he is completely untested."
Calling AAP's figures a stupendous achievement, senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta said, "It both suggests AAP's strength and weakness, the weakness is that AAP is associated with the face of Kejriwal."
Dasgupta added that the support for Kejriwal was because "a quarter of Delhi's population thinks that a total break from traditional politics is a much needed change".
Meanwhile senior journalist Kumar Ketkar citing Imran Khan's example in Pakistan said, "Politcal NGO's cannot work against political parties. You cannot be against politics and politicians and then want to be part of it."
He also said AAP got a lot of votes because "so called ethical alternative that is anti-politics has tremendous attraction".
Managing Editor of CNN-IBN Vinay Tewari said, "Kejriwal is providing emotional catharsis to an angry city, because people in Delhi are pampered. Kejriwal ran an intelligent campaign where he went against the culture of governance issues."
Dasgupta added to the argument saying, "Delhi is a rootless city. Therefore, the rootedness that comes from an established political parties is fragile. That's why Kejriwal became popular."
AAP in this three horse race has not only managed to make a place for itself, but has also eaten into the vote share of both the BJP and the Congress.
What AAP feared secretly came to be true, at least that's what the party believes, when it saw the probable tally of seats.
The CSDS-CNN-IBN poll predicts that the BJP will be the party with highest number of seats getting 32-42 seats while the new AAP is tabbed to get from 13 to 21 Assembly seats.
The Congress as the survey shows will fall to a poor third with a paltry tally of 9-17 seats. "The last minute jitters may have kept the voters away from a new party like ours," said AAP member Yogendra Yadav. But there were encouraging words for AAP.
"AAP also needs to be complimented for having energised campaigning in Delhi which were otherwise very lackluster. They introduced innovative methods of campaigning and revived a moribund BJP forcing them to take remedial measures," Dasgupta said.
"They actually helped BJP in getting maximum of the anti-incumbency votes as it pulled out people to vote in record numbers," he said.
The BJP, which is hopeful of forming the next Delhi government, was cautious in its approach. "We made our own calculations and we expect to get a clear majority. But it is not a poll count yet. Nevertheless, we hope to form the government," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said.
The Congress still hoped that the exit poll was not correct and Sheila Dikshit would deliver again. "The 9-17 figures for the Congress is not correct. Harsh Vardhan is a nice man but Sheila Dikshit is much experienced and a tall leader," said Congress leader RK Anand.
He, however, denied that the Congress leadership left Dikshit high and dry by not campaigning adequately for her. "Congress Union ministers were too busy with their ministerial work or were in their own constituency. This happens when your party has a government both at the Centre and the state," Anand said.
Unveiling the strategy how the BJP used Narendra Modi, Lekhi said, "Modi's rallies happened in areas where BJP never won."
First Published On : Dec 6, 2013 23:06 IST