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Live: People think AAP is running away from responsibility, says Kejriwal,

7.36 pm: 'We have not asked for support from both these parties'

In the letter Arvind Kejriwal plans to send to Delhi's voters, the leader of AAP explains why they need to help the party decide on government formation. Significantly, he says in his letter that they had never sought the support of either BJP or Congress, but the latter had offered them support to form the government in Delhi. Since AAP's poll plank had been ferociously anti traditional politics, the party is clearly in two minds about forging any sort of alliance with either of the parties.

"We have not asked for support from both these parties, they themselves have started talking about giving us the support for free. We had earlier heard that it takes more Rs 10 crore to buy an MLA... When the country was burdened by the corruption of both these parties, the common man formed the Aam Aadmi Party. In such a scenario how can AAP form government with the support of either of these parties?" Kejriwal said in the letter.

He further added: "But some people think that AAP is running away from its responsibilities. Why is AAP opposed to the support of these parties? This is because till the time these parties give the support, AAP can run the government and when they withdraw the support, elections will take place again. That day the voters will teach these parties a lesson."

It remains to be seen how much the party is able to tell the grain from the social media chaff they will be subjected to in the process of seeking 'opinion'.

5.27 pm: Social media abuzz with opinions about AAP's new political ploy

From criticism to support, following AAP's fairly surprising declaration, social media platforms like Twitter broke out in discussions about the new party's brand of politics. While most believed that the party might be overdoing the people's participation bit with the new decision, there were a few voices of support that surfaced for them.

One of the most popular lines of criticism against the party's decision to seek people's opinion, was directed at the unconvincing methodology. While a lot of people suggested that distributing 25 lakh letters to seek voter opinion was a waste of time and resources, others questioned who will possibly audit the responses.

 

 

Several Twitter users and supporters of Opposition parties also chastised AAP for being immature and misusing people's mandate.

3.51 pm: We will take views of the people on taking Congress backing, says Kejrwal

And there is our answer. AAP has said that it will take the views of the people from today to Sunday, and ask them what they think of forming a government with Congress. Kejriwal told the gathered media that being a people's party, they would carry out a referendum among the people and decide what to do next. "Even when we drafted our manifesto, it was never done this way before, where we went and met people and asked them what they wanted" People can phone in, send a text message, or leave a message on the AAP Facebook page. Very reality television like. People can also write in. "This aap makes rotis, clothes and builds houses, they can even run the government", he added. Kejriwal who was snubbed by the BJP when he wrote his letter to Sonia Gandhi and Rajnath Singh, also had harsh words for the party. "The BJP which cobbled up govts in many states is running away from responsibility to form the government in Delhi"

3.45 pm: Meeting over, what has AAP decided?

AAP has ended its meeting and are about to address the media. But we're having some serious mic problems. Kejriwal's voice is not getting picked up, and he can't speak louder because he keeps coughing. Suspense growing. Mic finally works, and so far Kejriwal is giving us a recap on everything that has happened so far. He points out that the BJP didn't even bother to reply the letter. "I hear in the media that they said they wont write back. At least in democracy they should reply to the letter. Rajnath is a big man, we are plain aam aadmi", he said, adding that if Rajnath thought replying to us was below his stature then he should have asked someone else to reply like Sonia Gandhi did.

2.57 pm: AAP meeting begins in Delhi

The Aam Aadmi Party has started its meeting in Delhi to decide on what to do, after the All the 28 MLAs are expected to be present at the meet that will be followed by a meeting of AAP’s political affairs committee late today. The Arvind Kejriwal-led party is under pressure to make efforts to form a government and not push the city-state into re-poll.

12.41 pm: AAP to meet at 2pm

The Aam Aadmi Party has agreed to meet at 2pm, to discuss how to respond to the Congress move to agree to their 18 demands, including backing a probe into Sheila Dikshit's 15 year rule. AAP leaders so far have been tightlipped on what they plan to do next. "It is very difficult to say something at this point. The whole political committee is going to sit and decide," Manish Sisodia was quoted as saying by the ANI news agency. Meanwhile AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said yesterday that the party would hold public meetings in 270 municipal wards, detail Congress' reply to the issues raised by Kejriwal and seek the opinion of the people whether AAP should form a government in collaboration with them or not.

11.10 am: All eyes on AAP's meeting

With the Congress literally painting the Aam Aadmi Party into a corner by agreeing to all of its 18 demands in Delhi, all eyes are on the party's meeting scheduled to take place shortly. Will the party now agree to the Congress offer of outside support, or will it still continue to dodge the governance bullet and push Delhi into President's rule and towards another election? In his meeting with the Lt governor of Delhi in which he was asked if he could form the government, Kejriwal sought ten days in which to reply. Shortly afterwards, he sent out a 18 point questionnaire to the Congress and BJP, asking them to clarify their stand on a number of issues including an investigation into Sheila Dikshit's tenure.

08:00 am: AAP expected to reject Congress offer

It isn't surprising but the Aam Aadmi Party is not expected to take up the Congress' offer. The Times of India reports that the AAP has questioned the distinctions that the Congress has made in its reply and want an undertaking of full support to the AAP government no matter the decisions taken by it. "Otherwise, they can pull down our government any time," Manish Sisodia was quoted as saying.

Will Kejriwal form the next government. PTI

Will Kejriwal form the next government. PTI

07:00 am: AAP to meet to decide on Congress offer today

Top Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders will meet to decide the next course of action after Congress made their stand clear on the 18 issues raised by party leader Arvind Kejriwal. After Congress had decided to extend unconditional support to AAP on 13 December, Kejriwal wrote letters to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP President Rajnath Singh seeking their parties' views on the 18 issues.

They included the creation of a Jan Lokpal, full statehood to Delhi, reduction on water tariff and audit of power discoms among others, before moving ahead to form a government. AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said yesterday that the party would hold public meetings in 270 municipal wards, put Congress' reply to the issues and seek the opinion of the people whether AAP should form a government or not. AAP had been sticking to its stand of saying that it won't take support from Congress nor from BJP nor will it support them. -- end of updates for 16 December -

- 2.52 pm: Waiting for response from BJP, Congress: Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal was addressing a press conference in Delhi about his party's stance on the Lokpal bill in the light of a recent rift with Anna Hazare, but as expected the conversation turned to what the party plans to do next in Delhi. Responding to a question about whether or not it would form a government in Delhi, Kejriwal said that he was waiting for the Congress and BJP to respond to the 18 point letter he sent them, demanding that they make stand clear on 18 issues. Both the Congress and BJP have slammed the 'arrogance' of the letter. "If the two parties respond the way we want them to then we don't mind forming the government", Kejriwal said. In a move that apparently took both the Congress and the BJP by surprise, the AAP Saturday sought 10 days' time from Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung to decide on government formation and asked the two parties to clear their stand on 18 issues relating to the national capital, including possible cases of corruption against their leaders. The AAP said it will know the real intentions of Congress' "unconditional support" and BJP's "willingness to offer issue-based support" only after the two respond to the letter the AAP dispatched to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday. "There is nothing unconditional in love and politics", Kejriwal quipped. -- end of updates for 14 December -- 7.20 pm: Karat welcomes AAP decision to fight Cong, BJP in Delhi polls The CPI(M) today said the party welcomes Aam Admi Party (AAP) for fighting both the Congress and BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections. "It is a secular party (AAP) which fought against the Congress and the BJP in the Delhi Assembly elections. We welcome them," party General Secretary Prakash Karat told reporters on the sidelines of the ongoing CPI(M) Central Committee meeting here. Describing the liberal economic policy as the main source of corruption, the CPI(M) has also asked the AAP to clear its stand on it. "They (AAP) did not make their stand clear on various policy matters like the new liberal economic policy, which is the main source of corruption. "So, unless the AAP clears its stand on these, it is not possible for us to have a clear conception regarding the new party," Karat said. Replying to a separate question, he termed the party's drubbing in Rajasthan Assembly polls as disappointing. The CPI-M had won three Assembly seats in Rajasthan last time, but lost all of them in the this year's election. "We lost all seats in Rajasthan which is disappointing, but there is no reason to believe that we lost our base there," Karat added. 4.25 pm: AAP escaping responsibility, says Congress After receiving Aam Aadmi Party's letter, the Congress has criticised the party saying it is escaping responsibility of forming government. However, even while criticising the party, Congress has said it will provide unconditional support to AAP. 3.30 pm: Delhi Lt governor writes to President The Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung  has written to President Pranab Mukherjee on government formation in Delhi. The Lt Governor has reportedly told the President that AAP will form government only after ascertaining views from the people. 3. 20 pm: Will respond to Kejriwal's letter in 2 days, says Congress Congress will respond in a day or two to the letter of Aam Aadmi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal, who has set some new conditions before it can decide on forming a government in Delhi, party General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed said today. "We will examine the letter and will get back to Kejriwal in a day or two," Ahmed told PTI soon after Congress president Sonia Gandhi forwarded him the letter written by Kejriwal to her. 10. 40 am: Will Congress, BJP support us on Lokpal Bill, AAP manifesto, asks Kejriwal In a new twist to the Delhi politics, the Aam Aadmi Party has decided to put the ball in Congress and BJP's court and asked them to express their views on Lokpal Bill and AAP's manifesto. After meeting the LT governor, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said that he has written letters to both the party presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rajnath Singh for them to express their stand the Lokpal Bill and various other issues. "As per Delhi Assembly results, BJP was the single largest party and thus LG had called them to form government. They were only 4 seats short. It wasn't a very difficult for BJP to buy 4 seats, why didn't they," asked Kejriwal in a press conference. Kejriwal said that it was surprising that Congress has decided to provide them 'unconditional' support. "Nothing comes for free, there's something else that these parties want," he said. Kejriwal said that the parties should express their views on the 16 issues he mentioned in the letter. The issues are: 1) No VIP security, no government bungalow, no VIP culture 2) No MLA, Councillor funds 3) Janlokpal for Delhi and investigation of scams 4) Audit of power companies and reduction of power rates in Delhi 5) Investigation of power meters by independent agency 6) Full statehood for Delhi 7) Action on water mafia 8) Regularization of unauthorised colonies within 1 yr 9) Rehabilitation of Jhuggis 10) Regularization of MCD employees 11) Simplification of VAT 12) Villages 13) Women Security 14) Education 15) Health  Kejriwal said that their replies will be made public and then AAP will decide on government formation in Delhi. The parties have been given seven days to file their replies. "They may be willing to provide us unconditional support, but we are putting in these conditions," Kejriwal told reporters. 10. 30 am: Kejriwal seeks 10 days time from Lt Governor Arvind Kejriwal has sought for 10 days time from the Lt Guv Najeeb Jung to decide on government formation in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party is yet to decide whether it will form government in Delhi with the support of other major parties. Kejriwal has also written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi and BJP President Rajnath Singh to express their take on AAP manifesto and the Janlokpal Bill. 10. 17 am: Kejriwal has reached the Lt Governor's residence Aaam Aadmi Party leader Arvind has reached the Lt Governor Najib Jung's residence for discussion to form a government in Delhi after the former refused Congress' offer of unconditional support. Earlier on Friday, Congress had sent a letter to Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung offering unconditional support to AAP to form the government, stating the party would not like to put the burden on people of fresh election in the city state. 14 December, 8:45 am  Aam Aadmi Party is not likely to seek support of either Congress or the Bharatiya Janata Party to form the government. AAP national convener Arvind Kejriwal is expected to meet Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung at 10:30 am today and convey his refusal to Congress' support, CNN IBN reported today. The Congress party wrote a letter to the Leiutenant Governor on Friday offering unconditional support to AAP. Meanwhile, BJP Delhi in-charge Nitin Gadkari has challenged the AAP to form the government in the national capital and fulfill the promises they made in their manifesto.." The government formation has literally become a case of 'pehle aap' as both the Congress and BJP are offering support to AAP. The BJP, the single largest party, with 32 MLAs is not staking claims to form the government as it is falling short of four MLAs. AAP, the second in place, with 28 MLAs needs to take a clear decision to form a government to avoid re-poll. According to political experts, since the Congress, BJP and AAP have declared that they would not enter into any post-poll alliances, the chances of President's Rule look high. End of updates on 13 December  9.27 pm: AAP to take Congress support? Aam Aadmi Party sources have told CNN-IBN that it may take support of the Congress if the party is ready to back the Jan Lokpal Bill. Arvind Kejriwal is to meet Lt Governor Najeeb Jung tomorrow to discuss government formation in Delhi. 8.45 pm: Ready to support AAP, Congress writes to Lt Governor Adding to the who will form the next Delhi government drama, the Congress party today officially handed over a letter to Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung assuring support to AAP. 8.30 pm: BJP assures AAP of issue-based support New Delhi: BJP today asked Aam Admi Party, the second largest party in Delhi assembly with 28 seats, to form a government while assuring it of constructive cooperation in fulfilling its promises such as slashing tariff by 50 percent and providing free water upto 700 litres daily. Delhi BJP president Vijay Goels said if AAP was really serious about fulfilling the promises made to people, then it should go ahead and form a government. "AAP had made many promises including two major promises of reducing power tariff by 50 percent and providing free water up to 700 litres per day. If AAP is really serious about fulfilling these promises, then it should go ahead and form a government and BJP will provide whatever cooperation is required," Goel said. On Thursday, BJP, which is the single largest party with 31 seats plus ally Akali Dal's lone seat, had turned down Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's offer of government-formation, citing lack of majority. A party needs at least 36 seats in the House of 70 members to form a government. PTI 4.00 pm: We will never support AAP, says BJP BJP spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has ridiculed suggestions that BJP may offer support to AAP to form the government in Delhi, saying it was irrational to think so at a time when AAP is claiming that it will stop Narendra Modi from becoming prime minister. He also accused AAP of 'using' Anna Hazare, and said that while the BJP saluted the anti-corruption activist, it condemned the attempts of AAP to 'hijack his agitation' for the Jan Lokpal bill. The rhetoric fits with the BJP line of thinking that in case of a repoll, they may be able to garner votes in Delhi because of a 'Modi wave'. 3.00 pm: We will explain our position to Lt Governor, says Yogendra Yadav Following a meeting at Arvind Kejriwal's residence to decide what course of action to take next, it looks like AAP has decided to ignore a Congress offer of 'unconditional support' and tell the governor that it simply does not have the numbers to form the government in Delhi. Speaking to reporters a short while ago, Yadav said, We thank Lt Governor for calling us. Arvindji will meet him tomorrow despite his ill health. We don't believe in the politics of give and take. We will give a letter to the Lt Governer". 12.51 pm: We will look at other options to form the government, says Vishwas AAP leader Kumar Vishwas has been quoted as saying that although it does not wish to take support from either the Congress or BJP, that it will look for 'other options' to form a government in Delhi.

There was no word on what those 'other options' might be. Apart from AAP's 28 seats in the Delhi assembly, the Congress won 8 seats and 'others' won 2 seats. Of these, one is a JD(U) candidate who has pledged his support to AAP. The other candidate, an independent named Rambeer Shokeen, said that he would be willing to join the BJP, but only if he was personally invited by Narendra Modi himself, and was offered the post of deputy Chief Minister. Given that Shokeen ran as an independent only because he was denied a BJP ticket, it is unlikely that AAP will approach him. The Congress has also offered the party 'unconditional support' but the party has so far said that it is not interested in any kind of support from the Congress, be it unconditional or otherwise. The party is currently holding a meeting at Arvind Kejriwal's house, after which it may make its stand known. But barring a complete turnaround, the party is likely to refuse to form the government.

10:00 am: AAP to take decision on offer to form govt after meeting

After the invitation from the Lieutenant Governor to form the government in the national capital, the Aam Aadmi Party will go into a huddle at party convenor Arvind Kejriwal's residence at 12 pm today where they will take a call on the future course of action. It's highly unlikely the party will take up the Congress on its offer to take the grand old party's support to form the new government. But stranger things have happened in politics.

9.35 am: Who will gain if Delhi is forced into a repoll?

With a repoll the most likely fate for the Delhi assembly, the question that is now on everyone's minds is who will benefit the most if this were to come to pass. The BJP or the Aam Aadmi Party? BJP sources speaking to Firstpost earlier, say that they feel that they will benefit the most from a re-election, because if a poll is held closer to the Lok Sabha elections, there is likelier to be a Modi wave that could influence the state vote as well. It is also a theory in the party that after having dispensed with their 'anger' in voting for AAP, the party will now more 'sensibly' vote for the BJP instead. On the flip side of the coin however, there is also reason to believe that people who voted for BJP in the Delhi assembly polls only because they thought that AAP did not have a chance, would now be more confident to cast their votes for the new party. Furthermore other people who voted for Congress because they didn't want to vote for the BJP, may also shift to vote. What we have here however, is the singular situation where suddenly no one wants to govern, except Congress, which however does not have a mandate. With the focus on 2014, are the actions in the short term now so short sighted that Delhi is bound to suffer?

7.40 am: Rahul reiterates Cong support for AAP

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has not ruled out the possibility of his party offering support to AAP to form a government in Delhi, despite the latter firmly ruling out any possibility of an alliance. According to the Times of India, Gandhi had told reporters that the proposal was still under consideration. The Lt governor of Delhi was yesterday told by the BJP that it was not in a position to form the government. He is scheduled to meet the Aam Aadmi Party at 10.30am tomorrow to ask them if they can form a government as the second largest party. However given the party's firm stand that they will not enter into an alliance with either Congress or BJP, they are highly likely to refuse. So essentially, the Delhi state assembly is likely to lie in a state of suspended animation until fresh elections are held. In this article, Hartosh Singh Bal argues that the AAP leaders are not being pragmatic, saying that in this context the possibility of unconditional support being offered by the Congress was worth consideration. He says: Instead of an approach that would have answered these questions and addressed doubts about their ability to govern, they have preferred to have Delhi wait for six months, as its residents continue paying the same electricity bills, facing the same difficulties they had faced under the Congress government while AAP awaits a majority. What then is the guarantee that they will then obtain a majority? - - end of updates of 12 December --

8.06 pm: BJP cannot form the government, will sit in the Opposition, says Harsh Vardhan

The Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP in Delhi, Harsh Vardhan today declared that the party doesn't have the numbers to form the government, hence will choose to sit in the Opposition. After meeting the Lt Governor, Harsh Vardhan addressed the media and thanked the Delhi voters for electing them as the party with most number of seats. "I want to thank the voters in Delhi for placing their faith in us. They have given us a mandate to lead the city-state. In fact they have spectacularly voted out the Congress party which was ruling Delhi for 15 years and also defeated the party's chief in Delhi. I feel humbled about it," he said. In a meandering speech, he added that the BJP has always been committed to serving the people and that is what the party intends to do in future. "We will keep serving the people of Delhi as the Opposition party. Since BJP believes in clean politics, and not in power games, it has no intention to break other parties in a zeal to form the government. So we will sit in the Opposition," he added. "We apologise to people for failing to act on their mandate but we are helpless. If Delhi is headed for a re-poll then we shouldn't be blamed for it. But if re-polling happens, then we are absolutely ready for it," he said. Asked if the party will approach the Aam Aadmi Party for support, Harsh Vardhan said that since AAP has already said clearly that they will not ally with any party, the question of approaching them doesn't arise.

7.20 pm: Harsh Vardhan meets Lt Governor Najeeb Jung

BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan is now in a meeting with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to discuss government formation in the national capital. But, Harsh Vardhan is likely to say he cannot form government since he doesn't have the numbers.

5.30 pm: Harsh Vardhan's meeting with Lt Governor scheduled for 6.30pm

Delhi's BJP CM candidate Harsh Vardhan is scheduled to meet the Lt governor at 6.30pm to discuss the formation of a government in the state. In all probability, Vardhan is expected to tell him that he cannot form the government as he does not have the numbers to do so. In that case, the Lt Governor may choose to extend an invitation to the Aam Aadmi Party to form a government as the second largest party. Despite Congress offering AAP its 'unconditional support' the party is unlikely to accept the offer, saying that they have no wish to form the government with support from anyone. Party leader Arvind Kejriwal stood firm despite reports that his colleague Prashant Bhushan had said that the party would give the BJP support on a 'case by case' basis. "We will not give or take support from anyone. What Prashant Bhushan said was his personal view", he said shortly after. So essentially, the Delhi state assembly is likely to lie in a state of suspended animation until fresh elections are held.

9:00 am: Harsh Vardhan to meet with Lt governor today

After receiving the call from the Lieutenant Governor, the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan is expected to meet with him today where in all likelihood he will reject the proposal to form the government. In all likelihood the Lieutenant Governor will then ask the AAP to form the next government where its likely that it will be rejected again.

7:00 am: Harsh Vardhan gets the call to form the government

In a bid to break the impasse on government-formation, Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung tonight spoke to Harsh Vardhan, BJP's chief ministerial candidate and leader the largest single party in assembly polls, for discussion tomorrow on the issue. Vardhan is likely to point out that he does not have the numbers. Jung called Vardhan over phone and told him that he wanted to discuss with him government-formation . The Delhi polls threw up a fractured mandate with no party security majority in the 70-member assembly and BJP emerging as the single largest party with 32 seats on its own.

End of updates for 10 December 8.25 pm Delhi Cong chief quiet on Dikshit's blame

Stung by the massive defeat, Congress' Delhi unit chief JP Agarwal today said the party would analyse the reason for the debacle but refused to respond to criticism by Sheila Dikshit who has accused him of not enthusiastically backing her in the polls. Agarwal, who is not known to have a good equation with the outgoing chief minister, said the nature of defeat was "totally unexpected" which will be thoroughly examined by the party. "Dikshit is a senior and respected leader of the party," Agarwal sid when asked about Dikshit's comment on Monday that he did not back her fully in the election. Giving reasons for the defeat, she had also said that the party was not active and that there was absence of coordination between it and the government in Delhi. "The party was not active enough," she had said elaborating that though her government had prepared a lot of documentation about the work done by it, the party merely told the people "bahut kaam hua (lot of work has been done)". That is not enough, she had said. Asked if she was blaming Agarwal, she had responded with a terse, "Well, if I am head of the government, I have to take that responsibility", suggesting that the DPCC chief should do the same. "I don't think so," she had replied when asked if Agarwal was fully with her. (PTI)

7.45 pm: Will obey high command decision on AAP: Congress MLAs

The suspense over whether Delhi is looking at a re-election looks set to continue till Congress president Sonia Gandhi returns from South Africa. Gandhi is in Johannesburg to attend Nelson Mandela's memorial service. She is expected to be back in Delhi on Thursday. "We have left it to the high command to take a decision. There is no question of supporting the BJP. As far as AAP is concerned we are of the opinion that we should support it. But we will abide by whatever decision the high command will take," a Delhi MLA told Firstpost. AICC general secretary Shakeel Ahmed met the eight Congress MLAs today. On the outcome of the meeting, Ahmed said, "They have said in unanimity that whatever decision the high command takes, they will abide by it."

6.35 pm:  BJP to prepare for fresh polls Nitin Gadkari has reportedly told newly elected BJP MLAs to prepare for fresh elections, since they do not have a majority in the hung Delhi assembly. The news has also been confirmed by party leaders to Firstpost. Don't consider yourself as MLAs but as candidates,” former party president Nitin Gadkari was quoted by Zee news as telling the legislators after the party finished with 31 seats in the 70-member assembly. One school of thought is that if elections are held again, then the Modi factor is likely to influence the BJP. This, the party feels, will be particularly impactful should the polls be held close to the Lok Sabha elections, or even after them, if the BJP wins. It is also thought that AAP is unlikely to perform as well as it has done if elections were to be held a second time in Delhi. The BJP line of thinking is that now that people have vented their anger, they are likely to be more 'practical' and vote for the BJP the second time around. But of course what needs to be remembered is that the BJP have been consistently underestimating AAP. There is nothing to say that the party will not do well in a second round of elections, Modi factor notwithstanding. The BJP surely needs no reminding that the 'Modi factor' had very little impact on the ground in Delhi. The party barely bettered their vote share from the 2008 polls, and all those anti-Congress votes went to AAP. A lot of wishful thinking? But really, there is no other option for the party, given its decision not to indulge in horse trading. So for now it looks like Delhi will be left with an assembly in a state of suspended animation. And President's rule of course. Somewhere in all of this, Sheila must be smiling.

5.44 pm: BJP, AAP should form govt, says Digvijaya Singh

Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh today supported Kiran Bedi's view that BJP and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) should form the next government in Delhi. "Yesterday, Kiran Bedi gave a brilliant suggestion. BJP and AAP should both form the government with a common agenda. Why not?," Digvijay said in a tweet. He said Kiran gave this suggestion on a television channel last night, where he was also present. "Both (BJP and AAP) have mandate of the people.

5.25 pm: Ready to support AAP says, Congress

ABP news tweeted that the Congress was ready to support AAP. Shakeel Ahmed told the media that the Congress is ready to support AAP without any conditions.

5.00 pm: Jaitley taunts Cong over Pawar's remarks BJP leader Arun Jaitley Tuesday took a dig at the Congress over NCP chief Sharad Pawar's remarks blaming weak leadership for the Congress debacle in the four Hindi heartland states. Noting that the Congress had criticised senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani when he had said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the weakest prime minister in history, he said that similar remarks had now come from a Congress ally. "When Advaniji said that Dr Singh is the weakest PM in history, he was criticized. Now Sharad Pawar says Congress lost due to weak leaders," Jaitley tweeted. The Nationalist Congress Party, led by Agriculture Minister Pawar, is an ally of the Congress in the ruling United Progressive Alliance and also in the government in Maharashtra. Pawar had said that angry youth, new voters and indecisive leaders were responsible for the Congress defeat in Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. "People need strong, decisive and result-oriented leaders. They do not want weak rulers, but they want those who will formulate policies and programmes for poor and implement them with firmness," he had said in a statement on his blog. The Congress had said Monday that it does not want to publicly comment on Pawar's remarks as he was an ally. The party said that it will take up his remarks at an appropriate forum and prove it otherwise. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Tuesday refused to comment on Pawar's remarks. 4:33 pm: Congress MLAs meet to decide whether to ally with AAP As Delhi waits on tenterhooks for a decision on whether there will be a government or a re-poll after the results of Sunday’s assembly election threw up a hung assembly, the chorus among the eight Congress MLAs to extend support to the Aam Admi Party (AAP) seems to be growing. After one of the Congress MLAs told Firstpost on Monday that he welcomed an alliance with the AAP, another Congress MLA, who is a senior leader, has told Firstpost that a decision on extending ‘conditional support’ to AAP will be taken at a meeting today. Read more here 4.oo pm: Election Commission notifies results, stalemate over govt formation continues The Election Commission today notified results of the Assembly polls in Delhi, paving way for start of the formal process of government formation by the Lt Governor. As the election has thrown up a hung verdict, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung is now expected to formally explore all options to put in place a government and is likely to call BJP, which along with its ally Akali Dal's one seat, has support of 32 MLAs in the 70-member House. If BJP declines such an offer, then Jung may ask AAP if was willing to explore the possibility of government formation, election experts said. In case AAP also refuses to take the offer, then the Lt Governor may be left with little option but to recommend President's rule. AAP has got 28 seats followed by Congress with eight. JD-U has won one seat while the Mundka seat has gone to an Independent.   2.14 pm: BJP has asked MLAs to brace for re-election, says Times Now Quoting sources, news channel Times Now said that following a meeting in Delhi, BJP has asked its MLAs to brace for a re-poll. Failing to attain a majority, the party at first had tried to coerce the AAP into forming a government by allying with either them or BJP. AAP flatly refused and given the contemporary political mood, BJP couldn't resort to the old poaching tricks so the party declared that they will take a decision in a bit. Now it seems that having left with no other option they will be looking towards a re-election. 12.55 pm: Prashant Bhushan has his own opinion on BJP alliance, says Kejriwal After the excitement spiked by Prashant Bhushan's comment that AAP might give BJP issue based support, Arvind Kejriwal has poured cold water all over the BJP's hopes:

Later speaking to the media, Kejriwal said, "We won't take support or offer support to any party. Delhi people have given the whole country hope. This isn't our fight, this is fight of the entire country. I appeal to all good people, parties to come ahead and join us. We will step aside, this is not about ego. BJP should sit with Congress and form the government. They have the same ideology anyway.So is Delhi headed for President's rule, then? According to this report in the Times of India, that is highly likely, given that the BJP has been warned off from approaching or discussing alliances with people who seem friendly, due to fear of sting operations! The report says:

Sources in the BJP said the central leadership has instructed its leaders in Delhi not to flirt with people who promise to deliver the numbers. "There is no way they can deliver. Rather, the risk is they could be a part of a sting operation being plotted by our opponents," said a senior party leader. AAP too reiterated that it would sit in the opposition. Party convener Arvind Kejriwal told TOI, "The onus to form a government is on the BJP. They should...form the government with Congress support. Our stand remains the same; we will sit in opposition."

12.22 pm: Prashant Bhushan backtracks, no hope for BJP

Despite being quoted earlier as saying that the Aam Aadmi Party was willing to give the BJP 'issue based support' if it decided to go ahead and form a government, party leader Prashant Bhushan is now saying that there is no question of supporting the party. The Aam Aadmi Party will not give or take support either from the BJP or the Congress, Bhushan said, diminishing any remote possibility of Delhi getting a government anytime soon after the recent Assembly elections returned a hung House. Meanwhile Kumar Vishwas has reacted to Sharad Pawar's 'jholawala' comment:

 

12.00 pm: AAP to focus on Mumbai next

Enthused by its strong showing in the Delhi Assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to concentrate on the ensuing Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra. "Our slogan is, "AAP ka ye sandesh, aaj Dilli, kal pura desh," AAP functionary Mayank Gandhi said here. "We will be fielding candidates from the 36 Assembly seats in Mumbai".

The statement comes even as Delhi struggles with a hung assembly, with neither the BJP nor AAP having won enough seats to form the government on its own. And in what is in many ways a political first, both parties are scrambling towards the opposition benches.

"We haven't yet decided the number of Lok Sabha seats we will contest from Mumbai," he added. Mumbai has six Lok Sabha seats. The Delhi results have boosted the morale of AAP members in the state, he said.

The party plans to take up issues like open spaces and slum rehabilitation schemes in the city. Housing, electricity and water supply will also be issues on which the party will focus.

"Voters are fed up of the indecisive, corrupt and non-functional government and are looking at the AAP as an alternative," another AAP member said. To ensure good performance in the polls, the party is roping in youth through forums like social media.

Asked if the party had collected data about the performance, utilisation of government funds in Mumbai constituencies, and the alleged wrongdoings of the ruling Congress-NCP and the opposition BJP-Shiv Sena MPs and MLAs. Gandhi said, "Yes, we have collected a lot of information."

10.35 am: Don't compare me with Modi, says Kejriwal

Kejriwal for CM and Modi for PM has been the mantra chanted by exit poll psephologists in Delhi even before the results, and now that the results have shown a dream performance by the Aam Aadmi Party, the mantra has only been magnified further.

Even BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman saw it fit to repeat the statistic in a post result panel discussion where she was trying to say that AAP's achievement of grabbing all the anti-Congress votes that should have gone to the BJP in Delhi were not worrying the party.

"Remember everyone who voted for Kejriwal has already said they want Modi for PM", she said almost defiantly.

Kejriwal himself has no issue with the BJP stand, but made it clear in an interview with the Economic Times that this did not mean that he should be compared with the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate.

"It's not an issue for me. But it would be a very bad statement if someone compares Modi with me. It's an irrelevant statement and not correct. No two people can be the same. I don't want to talk of an individual's politics", he said.

When asked about his opinion of a Modi wave he said, "People will decide if he really has a people connect. There are still five months to go for the polls. But in Delhi there was no such thing because he was not going to be the CM. He urged people to vote for Harsh Vardhan, but who is he? Leaders are not appointed by a high command or by parliamentary boards. They are born out of mass struggles".

10:00 am: BJP also committed to fighting corruption, says Harsh Vardhan

Refuting Prashant Bhushan's claim that the BJP would not be able to deliver on the AAP's promise of eradicating corruption in Delhi, Harsh Varrhan said the BJP had always promised to do the same.

"It is not because Prashant Bhushan is saying it but we have always said that we will make Delhi corruption-free. If we can make Delhi polio-free then we can certainly make Delhi corruption-free," he told reporters.

However, he made no mention of whether the BJP would talk to the AAP about forming the government in the state. He also made no mention of the BJP's plans to form the government in the event that they were invited to do so by the Lt Governor.

9:20 am : Manish Sisodia promises action against Koli if found guilty

 

9:00 am: Bhushan says no question of supporting BJP, AAP political committee meets

CNN-IBN reported that Prashant Bhushan has said that he was merely answering a rhetorical question and that the BJP could never meet the expectations of the AAP.

Bhushan said that the BJP could never fulfil the agenda that the AAP had promised Delhi's voters so there was no question of forming an alliance with the BJP.

8:45 am: AAP willing to offer issue-based support to BJP?

The AAP has so far strongly denied reports or insinuations that it would form an alliance with the BJP to form a government but a report quoting Prashant Bhushan has caused a storm.

In an interview with NDTV, AAP's Prashant Bhushan reportedly said that the party could offer issue based support to the BJP in the event that the party formed a government.

“If the BJP gives us in writing that it will pass the Jan Lokpal Bill by December 29 and set up ‘Jan Sabhas’ (public assemblies) in Delhi, as promised by the Aam Aadmi Party, we may consider supporting the party," he was quoted as saying in an NDTV report.

He also said that it was his personal opinion and not that of the party.

8:20 am: AAP meeting at 9 am

The political affairs committee of the AAP will be meeting at 9 am ostensibly on its future course of action.

7:00 am: Congress candidate's wife files case against AAP MLA, party claims its false

Newly elected AAP MLA from Seemapuri, Dharmendra Singh Koli, was Monday booked on charges of molestation and rioting on a complaint by Congress worker Veer Singh Dhinghan who was defeated by him in the Assembly elections, police said.

Koli, the party's youngest MLA, refuted the charges, saying it was "a fake case" and "an attempt to malign my image", while AAP said prima facie it seemed to be an attempt to malign the image of the party.

Supporters of the two parties clashed at around 11:30 AM, when scores of AAP workers took out a victory procession in the area and started bursting crackers and celebrating in front of Dhinghan's residence.

Read more about that here

End of updates for 9 December

9.25 pm: AAP, BJP won't join hands, govt formation uncertain

Delhi may be staring at the possibility of a spell of President's rule with both the major parties BJP and AAP saying they will not stake claim to form the government as they do not have the mandate.

Hectic consultations were on in both parties a day after the assembly elections returned a split verdict that gave majority to none in the 70-member assembly.

AAP on the other hand bagged 28 seats followed by Congress with eight. JD-U won one seat while the Mundka seat was won by an Independent.

After a meeting of top party leaders at Arvind Kejriwal's residence, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said even if Lt Governor Najeeb Jung invites the party to form the government it will decline such an offer citing lack of majority.

"We are not going to form the government. We will sit in the opposition and play the role of a constructive opposition. As per the Constitution the largest party has to take the responsibility of forming government," Yadav said.

"We have not got majority so it is very surprising that the number one party (BJP) is not ready to form the government and telling us to do so," he said.

Kejriwal, who held another meeting with AAP's newly elected MLAs to discuss strategy, said they would prefer to sit in the opposition and face elections if the situation warranted.

Both BJP and AAP asserted that they would neither extend nor take support from each other.

Amid uncertainty in Government formation, senior BJP leaders also held series of meetings and maintained their earlier position that the party will not stake claim to form a government as it was short of a clear majority.

"We have no numbers. We do not want to purchase any MLAs," former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who is party in-charge of Delhi, said.

Sources said Gadkari discussed the issue with Narendra Modi through teleconferencing and the common view in the party was that it should not resort to taking any unethical move.

"Obviously we do not have the numbers. We have 32 MLAs while we need support of 36 MLAs. Even if one of the unattached members support us or there is some repolarisation, the options are limited," senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley said.

BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan also echoed the same view saying the party will not form the government as people of Delhi did not give such a mandate.

"People of Delhi made us the single largest party. But they did not give us support to form the government. We do not believe in politics of horse trading. The ball is not in our court," he said, indicating that BJP may prefer to face fresh election if the stalemate continued.

The BJP has called a meeting of all newly elected MLAs tomorrow which will be attended by Gadkari, party's DElhi unit president Vijay Goel and senior leader Thawarchand.

When asked whether Congress was open to extend support to AAP to form a government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit referred to Kejriwal's comment that his party will not take support of any party.

"AAP said they will not take support of Congress. It is their decision. We have not taken any decision on it," she said.

She said if there was no headway in government formation then there will be no option but to go for fresh polls.

Meanwhile Lt Governor Najeeb Jung held consultations with senior officials and experts including Delhi Assembly Secretary P N Mishra on the next course of action. Dikshit also paid a courtesy call on Jung.

8.55 pm: AAP impresses political parties with wow debut

A day after its dream poll debut in Delhi, Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) was today praised by some political parties as a force good for the health of democracy and one that could provide a "credible alternative".

But some parties like NCP also took a dig at Arvind Kejriwal's nascent party describing them as "pseudo activists" who are not connected with the ground reality.

Congress stalwart and outgoing Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who was felled at the hustings by Kejriwal, was of the view that AAP just sold "dreams".

BJP ally Shiv Sena sounded a warning that Kejriwal's challenge is for all political parties across the country.

It is always good for the health of democracy when a new force emerges, BJP vice-president Smriti Irani said.

CPM said AAP has emerged as a credible alternative to Congress.

Its leader Sitaram Yechury said more than the anger against the policies of Congress what had helped AAP in the elections was they were seen as a possibility that can offer an alternative.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar congratulated AAP and said "it reaped the benefit of anti-corruption agitation of Gandhian Anna Hazare".

PTI

8.20 pm: Arvind Kejriwal elected AAP MLA board leader

The 28 newly elected legislators for the Delhi Assembly of the Aam Aadmi Party today formally chose New Delhi MLA Arvind Kejriwal as their board leader, Times Now reported.

8.00 pm: Sheila Dikshit blames AAP's dreams for defeat

A day after she lost to Aam Admi Party convener Arvind Kejriwal, former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit today said that AAP sold dreams to perform well in the Assembly polls.

Dikshit, a three-term chief minister said that she does not know what explains the AAP phenomenon which won it 28 seats to Congress' eight in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.

The Congress veteran said, "I think it is just the dreams that they spun. You cannot make dreams. You cannot sell dreams. But they have."

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 31 seats but five short of required majority.

7.26 pm: BJP will meet tomorrow to formally elect Harsh Vardhan as their CM candidate, says Nitin Gadkari

BJP leader Nitin Gadkari told reporters that the BJP's elected MLA's will meet on Tuesday to formally elect Harsh Vardhan as their Chief Ministerial candidate. "Dr Harsh Vardhan will be declared the BJP's CM candidate tomorrow. We will then meet the governor. After that we will decide what course of action we should take," said Gadkari.

Speaking to CNN IBN, Gadkari also rubbished suggestions that the BJP might want to indulge in horse trading to win over a couple of MLAs and gain a majority in the Parliament. "Those are things you make up to taint politicians. We don't want to poach MLAs from any party," he retorted.

5.00 pm:  The responsibilities now are scary, admits Kejriwal

And finally, Kejriwal admits that the responsibilities and expectations on him and his one-year-old party are frightening.  "Once a rickshawala gave me all the money he had for our movement. This responsibility is scary. I am not scared about being not successful, but I am scared of making mistakes", he candidly told CNN-IBN.

But having said that, Kejriwal added that there was also much for AAP to be proud of.

"We showed everyone how to contest elections with honesty. We never left the path of truth. And as all the sting operations and Prashant Bhushan CDs showed, we hit them where it hurt the most".

4.55 pm: Please bless us Anna ji, says Kejriwal

Arvind Kejriwal when asked whether he had any regrets with regard to his split from Anna Hazare, folded his hands and said, "Please bless us Anna ji. Whatever we are doing, we are doing it for the country, not for ourselves".

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Kejriwal confirmed that he did want to contest Lok Sabha elections, although he did not know when and how. "I appeal to all those who want honest politics in this country to come together", he said, adding that India deserved better.

"India is full of first class citizens who have third class governance", he said. Although he hastened to add that it was politicians and not politics that were corrupt in the country. He also dismissed the charge that it was his movement that had fostered deep cynicism against politicians.

"That cynicism was already there. How else did we win the election?", he asked.

4.45 pm: 'I am here to change the political process, not get tangled in political power'

In an interview with CNN-IBN's Rajdeep Sardesai, Kejriwal has once again categorically refused to take any proactive steps to form the government in Delhi.

"BJP and Congress are both sides of the same coin", he said, adding that the BJP and the Congress also had a responsibility. "Why are they subjecting the people of Delhi to another election? Why can't they form a government together? As it is they secretly meet each other, they are great friends, they do corruption together", he said. (To be fair to Kejriwal, these are allegations that even pro BJP columnist Swapan Dasgupta has often said).

He also expressed great confidence that none of his MLA's would defect to the BJP.

"Yes, we were hoping to get a majority and rule, but we have not received that. The people of Delhi have delivered a fractured mandate. So let them vote again and give a clear verdict", he said, adding that the chance that he might lose in the case of a re-election was a chance he was willing to take.

Explaining his stand further, he said that all the votes that AAP got were because people were angry with both the Congress and BJP. "In that situation, how could we ally with either of these parties?" he asked. "How can we take BJP or Congress support as they did not pass the Lokpal Bill", he added.

4.30 pm: My margin of victory is reflection of anger against Cong, says Kejriwal

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has said that his massive margin of victory over Sheila Dikshit was nothing but a reflection of the anger that the people felt towards Sheila.

"Kya hoon main? Mera kuch aukaat nahin hai (Who am I? I have no standing)", he said, adding that the votes for him were in fact all expressions of anger.

2.30 pm: Didn't get support from party, says Sheila

Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has said she wished she knew what went wrong in the Delhi elections, saying that the Congress had worked for the state for 15 years. According to CNN-IBN, she said that she had not got enough support from the Congress party.

"I didn't get the support from the party that I should have", she told the channel.

Sheila Dikshit at her post results press conference on Sunday: PTI

Sheila Dikshit at her post results press conference on Sunday: PTI

"The party and government went separate ways and that was a problem. There should have been more cohesion", she added.

This is exactly what Congress spokesman Jayanti Natarajan denied last evening when confronted with the same question. "Sheila Dikshit was never alone, she got all the support", she said, answering to charges that Sheila had got no support and had been left to battle it out alone in the polls.

The former Chief Minister also admitted that they had underestimated the Aam Aadmi Party. "We didn''t understand the Kejriwal factor but there were corruption charges against him which should have been seen but people didn't", she said.

But the Delhi Chief Minister did try to be practical about her defeat.  "What has happened has happened. This is the people's verdict", she told reporters in Delhi.

She added that all she wanted to see now, was a stable government for Delhi, but said that the Congress would have no part to play in alliance formation.

When asked what she thought AAP would do now, she said, "I can't answer for AAP".

2.15 pm: Upto Congress to give support to AAP, says Jaitley

BJP leader Arun Jaitley has said that it is up to Congress to support the Aam Aadmi Party and form the government in Delhi. Jaitley who has been stubbornly insisting that AAP should form the government instead of 'being a party of trouble makers', said that "the Aam Aadmi party keep leading people up the garden path, but don't want to take responsibility" in an interview with the Times Now channel.

He also ruled out the possibility of coming to an agreement with the BJP, saying that he did not think that there was any possibility of coming to any working arrangement with the party.

Jaitley's comments, as AAP leader Yogendra Yadav pointed out, are quite frankly strange, given that he knows full well that as the single largest party, it is the responsibility of the BJP to try and form a government.  But this line of rhetoric is in keeping with his comments last evening as well, when he slammed AAP during a late night panel discussion on NDTV. 

"You're an insider already and you're still positioning yourself as an outsider. What does that even mean? It means that you are embarrassed to be a part of a government from the fear of being criticized. What kind of politics is that," Arun Jaitley said angrily.

But what Jaitley also knows, is that it suits AAP better to sit in the opposition rather than govern. As pointed out by Firstpost writer Ivor Soans, "If the AAP avoids the temptation of power and the BJP takes over in Delhi, then it will remain a idea that came close to taking power and one that will gain even higher-decibel media coverage since they came so close to power.

But it is important here to point out that BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi himself takes on the 'outsider' avatar in his relentless Congress-bashing. Despite being the three-time chief minister from a fairly prosperous state and an unquestionable member of the country's political elite, Modi keeps harping on his beginning as a tea-seller's son and how that should be a reason why the voters should identify with him, the 'other', in contrast to Congress' dynastic politics.

1.50 pm: Will try our best to give Delhi a govt: Gadkari

A day after election results threw up a hung assembly for Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday said it would try its "level best" to give a government to the people.

"It is our responsibility to give a popular government to the people of Delhi. We will find out the solution and try our level best to give an alternative to the people of Delhi by forming a government under the leadership of Harsh Vardhan," former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, who was also the party's in-charge for the Delhi elections, was quoted as saying.

Asked whether the BJP was mulling over drawing support from the debutant Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), he said: "This question does not arise, neither there is any proposal from their side."

Here is a quick reminder of how things stand: The BJP got 32 seats, and the AAP won 28 of Delhi's 70 assembly seats. The BJP needed to win 36 seats to cross the halfway mark in Delhi to earn a majority and form the government.

The Congress, ruling the national capital for the past 15 years, was routed and reduced to just eight seats.

The Akali Dal, an ally of the BJP, won one seat. The Janata Dal-United and an Independent candidate got one seat each.

1:30 pm: No question of breaking any other party to form government, says Harsh Vardhan 

He may be just three seats short of forming the government in Delhi but BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate said there was no question of poaching legislators from any other party to form the state government.

"We don't want to break any other party to form the government," he told reporters.

The chief ministerial candidate said that as the situation stands the party won't be able to form the next government. He refused to comment on any other party allying with the BJP, said that he had nothing more to say and left.

12.08 pm: BJP, AAP should work together for Delhi, says Kiran Bedi

Kejriwal's former anti-corruption colleague Kiran Bedi has urged the Aam Aadmi Party to work with the BJP in the interest of the people of Delhi.

"Delhi's people voted for governance and not a hung assembly. It is in the larger interest of the city for BJP and AAP to work together", she was reported as saying by the CNN-IBN news channel.

Bedi's arguments are unlikely to sway her former colleagues though. Especially given that Kejriwal previously revealed that he had asked Kiran Bedi to be AAP's Chief Ministerial candidate and she refused, it's unlikely that she will be seen as someone who has a right to tell the party what to do in the wake of its better than expected performance.

Meanwhile, in case anyone was wondering, BJP's Vijay Jolly has said that the BJP will not support AAP in forming the government either.

Things are getting interesting now. Is Delhi headed for a re-election? Will Congress be the king makers? What about independent candidate Rambir Shokeen who wants a personal invitation from Modi and the post of deputy chief minister?

At this point, the possibilities are as intriguing as they are endless.

11.32 am: We only have 28 seats, no question of forming govt: Yadav

Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav has once again reiterated that his party has no intention of forming the government in Delhi, or helping the BJP to form it. "I find it unique that the party in first position is asking the party in second position to form the government", he said, in response to reports that the BJP had said that it was willing to sit in the opposition, in Delhi.

"If the Lt Governor asks us then we will tell him we have only 28 MLAs and that does not add up to 36. AAP has not got the vote to form the next government, and it would be unfair to do so", he added.

The sentiment was earlier echoed by Kejriwal herself, in an interview with CNN-IBN last evening.

"I completely agree that if we had a majority it would have been different, but Rome wasn't built in a day", he said. "Now let's see what they do. I would encourage BJP and Congress to join hands as their ideology is the same", he said.

The BJP has also expressed its reluctance to stake a claim, saying it did not have the numbers to provide a stable government.

The BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan had said last night that he will not stake claim to form a government as his party is short of a clear majority and would prefer to sit in the opposition than indulge in any "horse trading".

"...Since I don't have number I cannot stake my claim in forming my government in Delhi...Since I don't have the magic number of 36, I really cannot be a part of the government formation in Delhi," he had said.

11.14 am: Election commission to recognise AAP as a state party

More good news for Arvind Kejriwal. The stunning debut of his Aam Aadmi Party has now prompted the Election Commission to say that the organisation can be declared a state party.

To get recognition as a State party, all the candidates set up by the party together should get a minimum of eight percent of the valid votes polled in the entire State or secure a minimum of six percent of the total votes polled and one Assembly seat for every 25 seats in that State.

If a political party is recognised as a “State Party” in four or more States then it will automatically become a national party.

According to a report in The Hindu, the EC is set to write to AAP in this regard.

11.00 am: After Kejriwal's triumph, Anna has a 'me too' moment

Anna Hazare, arguably the man who created Kejriwal, has just announced that he will go on a fast to press for the passing of the Jan Lokpal bill in Parliament.

Speaking a day after the stunning debut of Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party, Hazare said that he had been consistently betrayed by the government, despite written assurances from none other than Sonia Gandhi that the bill would be brought and passed.

The fast will begin tomorrow in Ralegan Siddhi, he added.

Hazare added that the reason for the Congress' loss was its failure to bring a strong Janlokpal bill in all four seats despite its promises to do so. "People got angry because they were cheated and voted the Congress out of power", he said.

09:45 am: Core committee of AAP meets 

The core committee of the AAP is meeting at party leader Arvind Kejriwal's home in Ghaziabad. It's unlikely that they will be backing the BJP but it will be interesting to see what they say following the meeting.

AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has already made it very clear that they are more than happy to be a 'principled opposition'. But the catch is that the BJP says they are ready to sit in opposition as well!

Are we in the fantastic position of having the two leading parties refusing to the government? Enter Congress?

Surely not.

08:00 am: What options lie before the BJP

As per procedure, Delhi's Lieutenant Governor will have to invite the BJP and Harsh Vardhan to form the government in the state, reported CNN-IBN.

The BJP will be getting one seat from ally Shiromani Akali Dal and can look at wooing the one elected candidate from the Janata Dal (United).

Then there's the independent candidate Rambir Shokeen from Mundka who has already declared that he will not ally with the BJP unless Narendra Modi talks to him and he is given the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

The only option? The Congress which has eight seats. The BJP has said it is prepared to sit in the opposition which prompts the only question: Who will form the government in Delhi?

07:00 am: Arvind Kejriwal rules out joining BJP in Delhi

"Lets see what happens. Have some faith in the shamelessness of these parties. See how they indulge in dirty politics. I would encourage BJP and Congress to join hands because their ideology is the same," he told CNN-IBN.

End of updates for 8 December

9.25 pm: The BJP underestimated the Aam Aadmi Party, says Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan, the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate, told NDTV that he was no sure what would happen next in Delhi since no party has a clear majority at the AAP will not partner with either the BJP or the Congress.

"I am finding myself in a helpless situation," Vardhan said, "where I have promised to give an honest, transparent administration. But since I don’t have the numbers, I can’t stake my claim for forming the government in Delhi. So I don’t know what is going to happen."

Dr Vardhan insisted that he would not engage in anything that could even appear to be horse trading, so there was no question of approaching anyone from the other two parties to get them to switch to the BJP. "I am not going to pressure anybody directly or indirectly," Vardhan said.

He also admitted that the BJP had underestimated the support that AAP had in Delhi, but in contrast to the Congress, said the BJP did not need to learn any lessons from the way AAP ran their campaign. "Organisationally, we are far, far better than them," he said.

Given the numbers, Vardhan, said he and his party were "preparing to help the people in the opposition".

8.55 pm: 'Fallacies about AAP hasn't worked'

Yogendra Yadav summed up his argument by saying all the fallacies propositioned about the AAP have now fallen flat. "At first you said we'll fail if we formed a party. They you said we'll fail if we contest the polls. Now you're saying we'll not last long enough," he pointed out.

There have been several theories about the AAP but this election shows that the voters have not chosen to buy them, said Yadav. He added that they won't be a Delhi-centric party for too long and already has 307 district units in place across the country.

"After this performance, more people will want to join us and fight for us," said Prashant Bhushan, indicating that the Congress and BJP just found themselves with a new opponent for the Lok Sabha!

8.00 pm: Delhi final numbers out - AAP bags 28, BJP 32, Congress just 8 seats

Whoever had any doubt about the magnitude of AAP's intervention in the established political discourses of Delhi, the numbers are a telling indicator of the predominant mood of the city-state. The Aam Aadmi Party, which even the conservative exit polls suggested, will not get more than 15-16 seats, swept over 28 constituencies. BP was up ahead by just 4 seats and Congress was limited to merely eight.

It is interesting to note here that with the show in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal's party has finally started talking about a plunge into national politics. Making it obvious that they will fight the the general elections tooth and nail, AAP has now managed to rub the BJP in more wrong ways than one. In fact during an NDTV discussion moderated by the Sreenivasan Jain, a BJP representative lashed out at AAP and Prashant Bhushan who was on the show warning them to show humility. Then he went on to warn him of the consequences of coming into Modi's way. "The anti-Congress mandate is clear. All surveys have showed Narendra Modi is way ahead of Arvind Kejriwal as a preferred Prime Ministerial candidate. So if AAP doesn't respect that, the people will reject them. What they do - the wire cutting gimmicks - is exciting, but it isn't governance," hollered the BJP spokesperson.

As the day progresses with BJP not managing to clinch a majority and the possibility of a hung parliament looming large on the party, the panic seems to be showing cracks in the demeanor of  the BJP leaders. A seasoned politician like Arun Jaitley, too turned up in a NDTV discussion and took to a tone that qualifies as bullying as he chastised the AAP for not willing to ally with either the Congress and the BJP. "You're an insider already and you're still positioning yourself as an outsider. What does that even mean? It means that you are embarrassed to be a part of a government from the fear of being criticized. What kind of politics is that," Arun Jaitley said angrily. It is important here to point out that BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi himself takes on the 'outsider' avatar in his relentless Congress-bashing. Despite being the three-time chief minister from a fairly prosperous state and an unquestionable member of the country's political elite, Modi keeps harping on his beginning as a tea-seller's son and how that should be a reason why the voters should identify with him, the 'other', in contrast to Congress' dynastic politics.

Jaitley went to to bash up AAP further by saying that in politics one needs to take some caustic decisions at the cost of idealism and for the sake of pragmatism.

Prashant Bhushan of the AAP countered BJP's claim and said, "We are not just an alternative political party. We are trying to give the country an alternative brand of politics. How can we gang up with the same people, whose politics we have condemned? People are fed up of the duplicity and communalism of the BJP and Congress, hence they voted for us."

Yogendra Yadav too countered Jaitley's assertion that AAP is embarrassed to form a government with a set of clear facts.  Firstly, AAP's pitch for the longest time has been cleansing Delhi of old political traditions. Now the only possible way of 'cleansing'  the politics would be by forming the government. In fact, the party had perennially been desiring a clean sweep and Arvind Kejriwal also appeared in television shows saying that his party is all set to 'sweep' Delhi. It is only juvenile to try asserting then that the AAP doesn't want the responsibility of governance because they have refused to ally with the BJP and rejected the possibility of Congress' outside support.

Echoing the same, Yogendra Yadav said that while the city has given them a moral mandate, it has not given them a clear majority. In such a situation, AAP is technically not in a position to form the government. "Actually, I can throw the suggestion back to Mr Jaitley. Why doesn't BJP ally with Congress and lead the government? If they can say, 'how can we do it', why can't we say the same too? People who have voted for us have done so because they are wary of the same corrupt political traditions. We can't do some backdoor deal with any of them," he declared.

7.20 pm: Next mission is Lok Sabha 2014, says AAP

The Aam Aadmi Party issued a statement congratulating its volunteers, its leaders and the general public for its spectacular show in Delhi. "Who are we? We are common people. We are no big fish. Still we have felled such big politicians. This goes on to show that when the common man revolts, the biggest thrones get shaken up," he said.

In a statement they consequently issued, the AAP said: "This historic vote places enormous responsibility on the AAP. We wish to assure the citizens of Delhi that AAP shall not take part in any political wheeling-dealing that might ensue following this “hung verdict”. We have made a solemn promise to the voters of Delhi that we shall neither seek nor offer support to any part of the corrupt political establishment of the country. We wish to reiterate that the Delhi election is only the first step in our political journey. We are here to challenge the political establishment throughout the country. Our next mission would be to offer a genuine political alternative in the Lok Sabha elections 2014."

Time for Narendra Modi to think up a quick combat strategy?

6.05 pm: Won't support anyone, vows Kejriwal

It's the man of the moment - Arvind Kejriwal - making his victory speech. Because although the BJP is the single largest party, the Aam Aadmi Party has made a debut so stunning, that its performance can only be called the single most impressive.

Speaking to the media, Kejriwal said that for the first time in Indian history, people had voted for truth and honesty.

It's official. The AAP will play the role of a strong opposition, says Kejriwal. "We wont support or take support from anyone, we will play the role of a strong opposition", he said to loud cheers from his supporters who have been celebrating outside the AAP headquarters since 7am.

"Who are we? we are the common man", he said.

"With corruption and inflation it had become difficult for people to live in our country. These elections were fought by the aam aadmi... first time elections were fought on the plank of honesty and intelligence. If parties don't change then the people will change the party".

Kejriwal added that the AAP had done everything it said it would, from defeating Dikshit to running their entire campaign on a 20 crore budget. "We said we wanted 20 cr in funding and we stopped after that. Nowhere in the world would this have happened", he saod.

The AAP leader also apologised if he had 'hurt' anyone during his campaign. "I don't have personal enemies, we are against corruption and inflation", he said.

5.48 pm: This is definitely a victory, says Kejriwal's father

 

5.25 pm: Cong shields Rahul, BJP credits Modi as results come out

As all political events inevitably do, this assembly result has also turned into a Rahul vs Modi debate. The Congress Party is refusing to accept that their disastrous performance was a result of a Rahul 'no show' and the BJP is refusing to accept that it has lost seats to AAP because Narendra Modi  has not captured the imagination of the Delhi crowds.

The BJP is instead insisting that if Modi had not campaigned, the BJP would not have performed as well as it did, and the Congress is insisting that Rahul Gandhi is not to blame for the Congress defeat. To be fair to the BJP, the inspired decision to field Dr Harsh Vardhan as CM candidate is widely credited to Modi.

Rahul Gandhi for his part has been humble, if not defiant. He has vowed to resurrect Congress and learn from AAP, and frankly at this stage, he has nothing to lose. What the Congress top leadership says in the coming days, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile the BJP is still floundering short of a majority. It is leading in 33 seats to AAP's 27, but remember, it needs 36 seats to form the government.

5.00 pm: Will learn from AAP, vows Rahul

Congress vice President Rahul Gandhi is full of fighting talk in the wake of his party's defeat.

"The people have spoken and we will listen to you", said Rahul, adding that the Delhi results in particular had shown that the major fault of the two main political parties was their inability to involve the people. "Think AAP has involved a lot of people who the traditional parties did not look at. But we will learn from them, and we will involve people in a way that no one has ever done before", he said.

The Congress vice President's speech seemed to be more a Congress pep talk rather than an address to the media for the most part. "Must give adequate voice to man on street, it is our job, I'm going to put all efforts in transforming Congress. We have the ability to transform ourselves and the Congress party is going to do that", he said.

4.51 pm: People are clearly unhappy with us, says Sonia

Congress President Sonia Gandhi has said that the party clearly needs to introspect, since the people are clearly unhappy with the party.

Addressing the media, Gandhi said that she would like to thank the Congress workers who have participated in campaigns and worked very hard. "Naturally this result calls for deep introspection. We have to look at the reasons of this defeat. We have to look at how we took and did not take our message to the people. How we were equipped or not so well equipped in running an election", she said.

She said that she felt that in both Rajasthan and Delhi, there had been good governance, but that it had not been communicated well. "Price rise is an issue. We will introspect and take all necessary steps", she said.

4.30 pm: BJP says 'praise Modi', Congress says 'don't blame Rahul'

As all things eventually do in India's political scene, the discussion has devolved into a Rahul vs Modi mud slinging fest.

The Congress is of course shielding Rahul from criticism, dismissing any speculation that its horrendous performance has anything to do with his lack of charisma or ability to galvanise the party. For its own part, the BJP is trying to hoist all its spectacular performances on the back of Modi.

As a result, all the main players in this drama - the triumphant Raje, Raman Singh and Chouhan are being downplayed in favour of Modi, and the BJP is refusing to look at the rise of AAP as a sign that its 'pro Modi' wave was not as successful in Delhi as it would like. Instead the pundits inside the television studios are saying that if Modi had not spoken, the BJP may not have won at all.

As for Rahul and Congress, the party insists that the blame lies with the state leadership and not with the Congress vice President.

Be as it may however, as Firstpost editor R Jagannathan points out, what the Delhi result has shown is that both parties need to reboot.

4.20 pm: BJP pulls away from AAP, but still short of majority

The BJP has increased its tally to 23 confirmed seats and 9 leads, but even this adds to 32 seats  - four short of a clear majority. The Aam Aadmi Party on the other hand has won 16 seats and is leading in another 10. The Congress has won five seats and is leading in another  four.

Meanwhile Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to make a statement to the media soon.

4.00 pm: Sheila swept away by Kejriwal in New Delhi

Kejriwal's towering moment is here. He has beaten Sheila Dikshit in the constituency of New Delhi by a whopping 10,000 votes. When he first announced that he would compete against Dikshit from wherever she ran, it was seen as an act of complete folly. There was even talk as late as last week, that Kejriwal may not win the New Delhi seat, and it raised questions on whether or not he would get to be an MLA in the Delhi legislative assembly.

Shruti Dhapola/Firstpost

Shruti Dhapola/Firstpost

Kejriwal finally made an appearance in his office as the horde outside cheered wildly. "It is not my victory but that of the people of New Delhi constituency. I am sure that after this it will be the victory of the people of India", he said.

3.43 pm: Modi arrives in Delhi, flashing victory signs 

BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has arrived at the BJP headquarters in Delhi, flashing victory signs and waving a big bouquet of roses are in the air.

The BJP cadre is predictably going crazy.

Sushma Swaraj has also arrived at the BJP headquarters, wearing a pink sari and a huge smile. Meanwhile the BJP has now dropped its lead by 1 seat to the Congress party, which is now ahead in nine. AAP has 26 seats at the moment. It looks like that barring a major upset, the BJP will go on to form the government.

 

The party has now started its Parliamentary board meeting.

3.07 pm: Harsh Vardhan congratulates Kejriwal

BJP Chief Ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan has congratulated Arvind Kejriwal, for the performance of the Aam Aadmi Party. "Against the tide they have managed to pull off an extraordinary result. My congratulations to him", he said. Vardhan also thanked Sheila Dikshit for ruling Delhi for 15 years.

The BJP now looks like it can breathe a little easier. The party is leading in 34 seats, and the AAP lead has dropped to 26. Congress is still floundering with 8 seats.

Meanwhile the Aam Aadmi Party is saying that this result has given them the confidence to contest in other states.

2.48 pm:  No political khichdi, says Anna to Kejriwal

Anna Hazare who has been oscillating back and forth in his opinion of Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party, has now weighed in to tell his former protege that he should not ally with either the Congress or BJP.

 

Meanwhile former BJP President Nitin Gadkari, who is also running the show in Delhi, is claiming 34 seats for the party. In terms of vote share, BJP has just about retained its share from the last election. But AAP basically took all of the anti-Congress votes. This is ironic since Gadkari insisting the assembly elections are testimony to anti-Cong sentiment. If so, BJP has failed to capitalise on it in the one election where people had the option of NOT voting for the BJP.

2.12 pm: Can Congress save BJP from AAP?

With the AAP and BJP locked in a neck and neck battle, the nitty gritties of forming government is now down to single candidates.

Even if the BJP is invited to form the government because it is the single largest party, it may have trouble actually forming the government. The Aam Aadmi Party has already categorically declared that it will not ally with the BJP. The hope for the BJP if it comes down to counting numbers seat by seat, Rambir Shokeen could well be a king maker.

The independent candidate looks comfortably placed to win the seat of Mundka. He was denied a ticket by the BJP. Will the party have to now eat crow and beg him to help them form a government? Or will he also act on his disillusionment and move towards AAP?

There is also the option of taking away MLAs from the Congress. The party is leading in 8 seats, and if at least 4 of these MLAs move towards Congress, they can form a government. Given that the party is a clear third, will the disillusioned MLAs save BJP?

Meanwhile sad news for the party, Shazia Ilmi loses the RK Puram seat by just 340 votes.

1.52 pm: AAP, BJP neck in Delhi

Now with the BJP and Aam Aadmi Party looking like they are locked in a head on tussle for supremacy, the key seat battles will have to be watched extremely closely.

RK Puram, where AAP leader Shazia Ilmi is contesting is nail bitingly close. She is trailing the BJP candidate, Anil Kumar Sharma, by just 205 votes at the moment.

Manish Sisodia from AAP is also ahead in the Patparganj constituency.

Other key battles include Bijwasam, where the BJP candidate Sat Prakash Rana is leading AAP candidate Devinder Kumar Serawat by 2414 votes and Burari, where the AAP candidate Sanjeev Jha is leading BJP candidate Shri Krishnan by just 1,190 votes.

1.15 pm: Official results trickling in: AAP, BJP  win 3 seats each

The Aam Aadmi Party and BJP have won 3 seats apiece, according to the official tally oRn the EC site. Meanwhile in terms of trends, the Aam Aadmi Party is edging towards 30 seats. The party is now ahead in 29 seats as opposed to the 32 in which the BJP is leading.

The Congress is struggling to make it even to double figures, leading only in 8 seats.

The BJP is still confident though. "We will get a complete majority", said Vijay Jolly to media.

12.54 pm: Must analyse defeat, says Sheila Dikshit

Outgoing Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit issued a brief statement in which she said that the party needed to analyse its crushing defeat in the Delhi assembly polls.

"We have to analyse what went wrong later, I would like to say a thank you to the people of Delhi for supporting me for the last 15 years. I would also like to thank the media", she said.

Asked whether she failed to read the public mood she sarcastically said, "Bewakoof hai na hum?"

Meanwhile another official seat result has been announced - AAP has won Ambedkar nagar.

12.43 pm: First official seat result out - BJP wins Mehrauli 

And we have the first official seat result and it goes to the BJP in Mehrauli. They are also leading in another 35 seats, according to the official tally by the Election Commission.

Screen shot 2013-12-08 at 12.42.19 PM

 

12.30 pm: BJP up to 34 seats, but AAP makes significant gains

The Delhi result undoubtedly belongs to the Aam Aadmi Party, but the question now is whether or not the BJP will be ultimately able to form the government on its own.

The BJP leads are now at 34 seats, but AAP is making spectacular gains - showing leads in 27 seats.

The Congress is now only showing leads in 7 seats. The BSP for its part, is holding on to leads in 2 seats.

Dikshit continues to remain holed up inside her residence. Journalists are requesting the staff to urge Dikshit to make a statement. She is expected to make a statement in some time.

Meanwhile the discussions have predictably swung to what these results mean for Rahul Gandhi. Jayanti Natarajan of the Congress has said that Rahul Gandhi cannot be blamed for the results, but hastened to credit him for the results in Chhattisgarh. Sigh.

11.55 am: Sheila Dikshit resigns as CM

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has sent her resignation as Chief Minister to the Lt General of Delhi. The news has been greeted with great joy in the AAP office: Sheila tai bhag gayi is the slogan.

The three time Chief Minister is set to lose the New Delhi constituency as well, as she is trailing AAP's Kejriwal by a significant number of votes. The latest update is that she is trailing Kejriwal by 15,000 votes. And sweet irony - she won the same seat by a whopping 14,000 seats.

Meanwhile reason to worry for the BJP - their leads have dropped again. They now only lead in 32 seats. The magic number, as we have kept reiterating, is 36.

Here is a quick look at AAP supporters celebrating:

11.48 am: Arvind Kejriwal leading Sheila by 10k votes - buzz from AAP

More AAP celebrations in the wake of reports that Arvind Kejriwal has won by 10,000 votes. EC website doesn't confirm this yet but AAP workers are convinced Kejriwal has won.

According to Firstpost reporter Shruti Dhapola, "AAP worker tells us EC has declared election and Kejriwal has won".

Not quite, but that doesn't mean the party should not celebrate. They have every reason to do so.

11.38 am: "Sheila Ko haraya hai, Modi Ko harayange', shout AAP

The celebrations at the AAP office are reaching fever pitch. Supporters are dancing to dhol drums waving brooms in the air and are shouting slogans, the most catching of which seems to be, "Sheila Ko haraya hai, Modi Ko harayange" ( We defeated Sheila, we will defeat Modi next).

Meanwhile the BJP is stretching its leads. The latest trends show the party leading in 37 seats now.

11.28 am: BJP leads at magic number of 36

The BJP is now leading in 36 seats - the magic number they need to form a government in the Delhi legislative assembly. The Aam Aadmi Party leads have dropped from 25 to 22, while the Congress party is leading in 8 seats.

11.19 am: Congress accepts defeat

The Congress party has accepted defeat in the state assembly elections, IANS reported. The agency also quoted Congress leaders as saying that they would 'introspect'.

Meanwhile interesting AAP fact - the brother of Santosh Koli - the AAP leader who was killed in an accident, is sweeping the Seemapuri seat. Firstpost reporter Shruti Dhapola says the Congress candidate walked out of the counting centre from there.

The AAP candidate - Dharmendra Singh - is leading by 10,000 votes.

11.00 am: BJP reaches the halfway mark

The BJP is now leading in 35 seats, which is the halfway mark. If it can hold on to this tally and get one more seat, it will not need to look for allies to form the government. This is just as well, given that the Aam Aadmi Party has conclusively ruled out any chance of an alliance with the party.

10.58 am: AAP leading in key constituency of Malviya Nagar

The Aam Aadmi Party is leading the key Malvia Nagar constituency, considered to be a key seat. The contest was between Kiran Walia (current minister for Education, Social Welfare, Women and Child Development,Languages) It was largely thought that Arti Mehra would sweep the polls.

Here is a look at the way things stand so far:

SHRI SOMNATH BHARTI Aam Aadmi Party 6023
MS. ARTI MEHRA Bharatiya Janata Party 3811
MS. KIRAN WALIA Congress 2779

10.48 am: BJP now lead in 34 seats, can they still form the government?

The leads are constantly changing as counting continues, and the BJP seems to be pulling a little closer to the magic number of 36 in Delhi.

The party is now showing leads in 43 seats, while AAP is leading in 24 seats. The Congress leads have fallen even further to 9 seats. It looks like the party will struggle to even make it to double digits.

Meanwhile in worse news for the Congress, Sheila Dikshit is now trailing Kejriwal by 7,000 seats in New Delhi.

According to Firstpost reporter Pallavi Polanki, there is a stunned silence at Diksit's residence. The office is deserted and there are only reporters waiting for Sheila Dikshit to make a statement.

"The youth has gone in Kejriwal's favour. The AAP wave has taken over delhi," says a disheartened Congress worker

10.42 am: AAP will never never never support Cong, BJP

Thrilled AAP supporters have said that the party will 'never never never' ally with the BJP even if it falls short of a clear majority in the Delhi legislative assembly.

Amid the cheering, party members emphatically told reporters that they would 'never never never' ally with the Congress.

Meanwhile the Congress admitted that it was disappointed with the assembly results from four states where it appeared to be headed for defeat.

"We are disappointed with the results that have come in," said a crestfallen party leader, Randeep Singh Surjewala.

But he quickly added that a defeat in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi might not reflect on national mood ahead of Lok Sabha polls due next year.

10.26 am: BJP is single largest party, but don't have majority

As counting goes on, the BJP looks like it is losing some of its early momentum to AAP. BJP leads have dropped to 30 seats, while AAP is leading in 25. The Congress has upped its tally to leads in 14 seats.

At the AAP headquarters, brooms are being waved in the air in celebration.

10.15 am: Leads for all 70 seats out, BJP just shy of magic number

The leads are now out for all 70 seats in New Delhi and the BJP looks like it is just shy of the magic number - 36. They are leading in 32 seats, while AAP is a clear second in 24 seats. Congress is leading in 13 seats while the BSP is leading in 1.

The BJP will now be hoping that once results get a little clearer, that they will see more seats coming to them.

BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman has meanwhile gone out of her way to reassure the Aam Aadmi Party that there is no party initiative to approach AAP and lure MPs on to their side. This comes even as AAP leader Kejriwal alleged that some of his party MPs had already been approached by the BJP.

While Sitharaman's assertions are admirable, no one can rule out some strong horse trading. Expect a lot of allegations and counter allegations in the next few hours and days.

10.00 am: With 2 seats to go, BJP looks set to form govt

Leads are out in 68 seats and the BJP looks like it will form the government on its own. The BJP is leading in 34 seats, while AAP is behind, showing leads in 24 seats. Congress is postitvely floundering in third place with leads in just 8 seats.

Others - in this case the BSP - are leading in 2 seats.

Here are some early trend specifics: AAP leader Manish Sisodia is leading from Patparganj, Kejriwal is leading Dikshit in New Delhi, and AAP has ruled out any alliance with the BJP.

AAP leader Shazia Ilmi has echoed Kejriwal's statement in the morning that there would no question of allying with the BJP, reports Firstpost's Pallavi Polanki.

"We have taken all adequate precautions against our candidates being poached. We are not poachable. There is no question of joining hands with the BJP or Congress. The idea is not to come to power by hook or crook," says AAP's Shazia Ilmi on arriving at the Gol market counting centre in Delhi .

Meanwhile here is some early morning cuteness:

 

9.50 am: Sheila losing New Delhi seat?

The unthinkable has happened. Sheila Dikshit is trailing Kejriwal in the New Delhi seat by 2,000 votes. Will the incumbent Chief Minister be unable to hold on to her own constituency? We can only wait and see. But the good news for Kejriwal fans is that he has actually caught up to her. A few hours ago, she was leading the votes.

9.43 am: Leads out in all but 4 seats, Congress set to lose

The BJP is edging closer to the halfway mark, leading in 31 seats. AAP is leading in 22 seats, while the Congress is leading in 10 seats. The BSP is leading in 2.

Of course it is early days, but this much is certain - the Congress is set to lose.

BJP CM candidate Harsh Vardhan looks as pleased as punch, but he's not celebrating yet. 'I will not celebrate till all the results are out', he says.

9.30 am: 60 out of 70 leads out, BJP ahead

The BJP is now ahead in 28 seats, while AAP is leading in 20 seats. The Congress is absolutely getting decimated - there is no other word for it - with leads in just 10 seats.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi is putting a brave face on, saying that although the BJP is leading all four states, there is no Modi wave in the country.

9.20 am: Leads out in 50 seats, AAP celebrates exceptional performance

The Aam Aadmi Party has everything to celebrate this poll. BJP is ahead in 21 seats, but AAP is right behind them with leads in 18 seats. Congress struggling in third with leads in just 8 seats, while 'others' are ahead in just 3 seats.

Lots of shouts of 'Vande Mataram' and 'Bharat mata ki jai' outside the AAP office in Connaught place. ALl the pundit discussions are now focusing on whether or not AAP will ally with the BJP.

 

9.11 am: Leads out in 40 seats, BJP ahead

Leads are now out in 40 seats and AAP looks like it is giving the BJP a good run for its money.

The BJP and AAP are leading in 16 seats each, while the Congress is a distant third, leading in just 6 seats.

9.00 am: BJP pulling ahead, Cong, AAP, BSP jostle for second

More leads coming in and the BJP is well ahead now, leading in 12 seats, this is a gain of 7. The Congress is leading in 5, AAP is leading in 7 seats, and BSP is leading in 3.

Meanwhile in Rohtas Nagar, widely considered a bellwether state, is showing a gain for BJP.

BJP CM candidate Harsh Vardhan tells Firstpost reporter Soumik Mukherjee that he has always been very certain that the party was clearly ahead of Cong and AAP. "They were fighting each other", he said.

"I am certain of the party's win in at least 40 seats. The credit goes to cadres and all the leaders in Delhi BJP", he added.

Here is a picture of the buoyant AAP office courtesy Shruti Dhapola

 

8.53 am: Sheila Dikshit leading Kejriwal in New Delhi

Contrary to the results of all the major exit and opinion polls, incumbent Congress CM Sheila Dikshit is leading Kejriwal in New Delhi.

Leads are out for 20 seats now, Congress ahead in 4, BJP ahead in 7, AAP ahead in 4 and others ahead in 5.

8.49 am: Leads out in 15 seats, BJP pulls ahead

Congress lead in 3, BJP leads in 6 and AAP leads in 4 so far. The 'others' meaning independent candidates are also leading in 3 seats.

However the usual caveats, these are very very early trends.

8.44 am: AAP leads 2 seats, BJP, Cong 1 each

Results coming in thick and fast again, AAP is ahead in 2 seats and the BJP and Congress lead in 1 each. However the bad news for the Congress, is that they won all these seats in 2008. AAP is leading in Narela and Seemapuri. Narela is just north of the Haryana border, somewhat rural in character and very poor. Seemapuri in East Delhi is the constituency in which Santosh Koli, the AAP member who was killed in an accident, was running for the party.

8.34 am: First lead out, AAP ahead

The Aam Aadmi Party is leading in the Narela constituency, which the Congress won in 2008 with a 0.8 percent margin.

The cheers outside the AAP office make it sound like a cricket match, says our Firstpost reporter. However this is just a very early lead, and is likely to be only a postal ballot. AAP leader Ypogendra Yadav has a huge smile on his face, but cautions that these are still very early days.

The Congress is also leading in a seat. Nothing for the BJP yet.

8.21 am: Kejriwal says he is confident of win

Arvind Kejriwal has arrived at the AAP office in Connaught place, and has told his supporters and the media that he is confident of a win.

The AAP leader sparked off some controversy earlier this morning, by saying that his party members were being approached by the BJP in the wake of exit polls that showed AAP emerging as the second largest party in the state.

"No matter what happens the people would have won, Arvind Kejriwal said in an interview with CNN-IBN. "We are not thinking about particular posts like the CM or PM. We are working for the nation", he added.

Firstpost reporter Shruti Dhapola who is at the AAP office, says that the biggest complaint outside AAP office is that the tv is displaying the election result is not big enough. Some AAP supporters leave as TV is not big enough. They're going to watch results at home.

Meanwhile on the Congress side of the camp, party workers have resorted to prayer:

 

8.00 am: Counting begins for Delhi election

It's 8am, and counting has begun in the Delhi assembly polls. We will soon begin to see emerging trends from the various districts, and the fates of various political leaders will be decided.

The most attention is of course, on Sheila Dikshit, the three term Chief Minister who looks like she is on her way out. And the Indian Express has a feature detailing what she did on Saturday.

She told the newspaper that she spent some time reading, first the newspapers and then a few pages of Ramchandra Guha's India After Gandhi. "A major part of my time goes in reading paper after paper, to read how people are dismissing me with biased reports," she said,

While staffers, all old-timers, were still preparing her favourite dishes and pottering about the house, Dikshit herself found time for classical music.

After previous elections, Dikshit would sometimes promise her family more time to do what they want her to. This time, however, says the report, she has never discussed the prospect of a defeat.

Meanwhile here is a look at Delhi's districts:

Delhi_Parliamentary_Constituencies

7.48 am: Outside the AAP office, party workers are set for business

The AAP office is a hive of activity in Delhi, says Firstpost reporter Shruti Dhapola. According to exit polls, AAP is set to outperform the incumbent Congress party, grabbing between 13 -21 seats and 27 percent of the popular vote.

Meanwhile Kumar Vishwas has arrived at the AAP office and is immediately mobbed by reporters. He tells people that they are confident of victory.

7.00 am:  Are Sheila Dikshit's hours numbered?

With the counting of votes in the Delhi assembly elections scheduled to begin at 8am, we will soon know how the state has voted. And the big question on everyone's minds of course, is whether the exit polls are correct, and three time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit will be ousted after 15 years in power.

Image from PTI

Image from PTI

Dikshit herself has put on a defiantly brave face, saying that she is not swayed by exit poll results and still believes she will do well, even leading the Congress party to victory. But given public sentiment and the consensus of various exit polls conducted after voting ended on 4 December, it looks like her 15-year term at the helm of the Delhi legislative assembly is for all events and purposes, over.

In fact, shockingly, A Lokniti (CSDS) exit poll for CNN-IBN and The Week even predicts that she will lose her own seat – New Delhi – to political upstart Arvind Kejriwal. Only 13 percent of voters polled from the constituency said that they had voted for her, as opposed to 38 percent for Kejriwal and 22 percent for Vardhan.

Diskhit's popularity has also plummeted from 41 percent in 2009 to a paltry 15 percent. This is opposed to a 27 percent popularity rating for Kejriwal and 22 percent for BJP candidate Harsh Vardhan.

The exit poll has predicted that the ruling Congress party are likely to emerge a paltry third in the Delhi assembly polls, winning between 9 and 17 seats and just 23 percent of the vote, behind the BJP (32-42 seats and 33 percent) and Aam Aadmi Party (13 -21 seats and 27 percent). This is a marked fall from its previous 2008 high of 43 seats.

Delhi-seat-projections

As Firstpost editor R Jagannathan pointed out, the exit poll results point to four possible scenarios in Delhi:

1: The likeliest possibility is a clear win, or even a sweep, for the BJP.

In a three-way vote split, the party with the largest chunk of the vote often gets a disproportionate number of seats – especially if its votes are concentrated in the right areas. This is what happened in Uttar Pradesh in 2012, when the Samajwadi Party got a clear majority with a vote share of less than 30 percent, and with the BSP just three percentage points behind. By raising its vote share by just 3.7 percent to 29.15 percent, Akhilesh Yadav saw his seat count rise from 97 in 2007 to a record 224 in 2012.

2: The second possibility is that of the BJP emerging as the single largest party.

In this case, it will have AAP breathing down its neck – resulting in a hung house. This could happen if the BJP’s vote-share is evenly distributed while AAP’s votes are concentrated in critical pockets. In this eventuality, it is not inconceivable that AAP could form a government with some of the smaller parties like the BSP or independents, who have a 17 percent vote share between them. It is, however, not clear if this will get them a proportionate number of seats. Some of the vote share may just be wasted among also-rans.

3: The third possibility is of the AAP actually emerging as the biggest party.

Despite a lower vote share, it may end up with a higher seat share because it may have concentrated its vote-gathering efforts in the right pockets. If this happens – but it is not likely – it will be a tribute to AAP’s ability to micro-manage its voter messaging in the areas most hospitable to its debut.

4: The only outcome that seems unlikely is that of Congress springing a surprise.

Not only is the Congress not likely to win, it is even less likely to emerge as the single largest party in the Delhi assembly given the huge disenchantment of the voter with both Sheila Dikshit’s government and the UPA government at the centre. Voter dissatisfaction was high, with 56 percent of those polled saying they were unhappy with the Delhi government and an even larger 63 percent saying they loathed the Congress-led UPA government.