26 April, New Delhi
With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sweeping the Delhi municipal polls on Wednesday, opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Congress leaders offered to quit on moral grounds while also blaming the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the polls for their debacle.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken announced his resignation as the poll results came out, while AAP legislator from Chandani Chowk Alka Lamba offered to resign as her party did not win in a single MCD ward from her constituency.
In line with their recent proclaimed scepticism over reliability of the EVMs, both the AAP and Congress expressed apprehensions of the machines having been tampered with even in these civic polls.
The AAP’s defeat comes more than two years after the Delhi assembly elections when it had humbled the BJP, winning 67 of the 70 Delhi assembly seats.
“Without rigging, such a massive win is not possible,” AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters on Wednesday.
He said it was “unbelievable” that the BJP could return to power in the civic bodies with such a massive win even as the MCDs had in the last 10 years failed to ensure upkeep of the city.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken announced his resignation and also backed the AAP’s charge of the EVMs having been tampered with.
“I will submit my resignation to the Congress President and Vice President shortly,” Maken told reporters as he announced his decision to step down.
“We are getting our votes back, but we had higher expectations. I could not meet my own expectations, so I am resigning. I will not take any post in the party for a year,” Maken said.
Maken also called for a probe into “EVM tampering”.
“Election Commission should institute a probe for the EVMs,” he said, adding: “Even if we don’t trust EVMs, we must trust the Election Commission.”
The BJP, however, dismissed the allegations, with Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu saying that the AAP failed to understand the “mood of the nation”.
“He (Kejriwal) was not ready to perform… He did not want to work with the central government. He did not understand the mood of the nation. The mood of the nation is ‘Modi’,” Naidu said.
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, meanwhile, said that her party did not campaign aggressively enough to win the civic polls. She, however, exonerated the party high command and put the onus of the loss on the local leaders.
She also said that despite being elected thrice in a row to be the Chief Minister of Delhi, she was not invited to campaign for the party candidates for the municipal polls.
“Congress did not campaign in an aggressive way… It did not do what it should have done to win the Delhi civic polls,” Dikshit told reporters.
“Responsibility of the MCD elections rests with local leaders (Ajay Maken, the Delhi Congress chief). The high command cannot be dragged into this. It is the Pradesh Congress Committee which should bear the blame,” Dikshit said while speaking to a India Today TV.