The Delhi civic council may only be one of several forms of government in the capital, but the AAP’s victory today has a much wider impact.
This is why the MCD victory matters outside of Delhi:
1. First Against BJP: With this victory, the AAP has never before defeated the BJP. Its triumphs in Delhi have either come at the expense of the Congress or have only served as a vote of confidence when it was already in power. It defeated the Congress early this year in Punjab as well. Manish Sisodia of the AAP declared, “Such a little party has defeated the ‘world’s largest party’.” Added Sanjay Singh: “The BJP has a habit of claiming that AAP only beat Congress. Arvind Kejriwal has responded to them today.”
2. Parallel polls: The BJP is also in power in two of the states where the Delhi election was held. Given that the BJP had deployed its strongest forces in the capital, the AAP now has something to show for its victory in Delhi. The BJP’s identical pitch of “Modi’s double engine” and the AAP’s “Kejriwal’s government, Kejriwal’s corporator” also capitalized on the faces of their main leaders.
3. Delhi plus a little: AAP is expected to gain ground in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, in the two assembly elections results slated for tomorrow. According to Arvind Kejriwal, garnering 15% to 20% of the vote in Gujarat would be a significant victory for a party that just last month marked ten years in existence. Due to the focus on Gujarat and Delhi, it all but abandoned its campaign in Himachal.
4. Taking on Narendra Modi: Arvind Kejriwal and PM Modi squared off in Gujarat, where PM Modi held more than a dozen rallies. It was a rare occasion that Mr. Kejriwal found himself engaged in this personality conflict; throughout the years, he had mostly avoided or given up on it, especially after the 2019 Lok Sabha elections gave PM Modi a second mandate. After this year’s victory in Punjab, the AAP is ramping up its national ambitions once more and even aiming for the Hindutva base of the BJP. As a result, the Kejriwal-Modi election must be won under circumstances considerably different from their 2014 Varanasi election duel.
5. 0n the street: The AAP’s triumph in Delhi means it now has more projects under its control at the mohalla level. One of these was rubbish collection, which was a key election issue. The MCD also includes a sizable portion of roads, streetlights, and elementary schools. This enables Arvind Kejriwal to win more supporters for his “Delhi model of governance” before more significant conflicts. But this could lead to further hostility between the AAP and the BJP-led government in the Centre, which continues to exercise control over Delhi’s land, police, and several other important issues through the Lieutenant Governor.