New Delhi: Delhi chief minister and AAP president Arvind Kejriwal Thursday said he accepted the people's mandate, after his party lost on all seven seats in the national capital and came third in most of the constituencies.
He also congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the "historic" win of the NDA in the Lok Sabha election. Except North West and South Delhi seats, where the AAP is in the second spot, the ruling party in Delhi came at the third position in all the other five constituencies.
The AAP had fielded seven candidates in Delhi - Brijesh Goyal from New Delhi, Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk, Raghav Chadha from South Delhi, Atishi from East Delhi, Dilip Pandey from North East Delhi, Gugan Singh from North West Delhi and Balbir Singh Jakhad from West Delhi.
In New Delhi, Goyal lost by over four lakh votes to BJP candidate Meenakshi Lekhi, Gupta lost by over three lakh votes to BJP candidate Harsh Vardhan, Chadha lost by over three lakh votes to BJP candidate Ramesh Bidhuri and Atishi lost by over four lakh votes to BJP candidate Gautam Gambhir. On the other hand, Dilip Pandey lost by over five lakh votes to BJP candidate Manoj Tiwari, Singh lost by over six lakh to BJP candidate Hans Raj Hans and Jakhar lost by over six lakh votes to BJP candidate Parvesh Singh Verma.
The star performer of AAP, Atishi who is credited with revolutionising the education system of government schools, has come in third, after Gambhir and Congress candidate Arvinder Singh Lovely. Kejriwal congratulated Modi for the BJP's victory.
"I congratulate Sh Narendra Modi for this historic win and look forward to working together for the betterment of the people of Delhi," Kejriwal tweeted. "We accept the mandate of the people. We fielded very good candidates and our party workers worked very hard during campaigning," he said in another tweet. He also congratulated Bhagwant Mann, who won from Sangrur seat in Punjab, and the people of the constituency, saying Mann will continue to raise people's issues in Parliament.
The Delhi chief minister has been a vocal critic of Modi and has lashed out at him on several occasions during election campaigns, accusing the prime minister of indulging in politics of hatred.
Senior AAP leader Gopal Rai said the party respects the mandate of people. "We will work together with the prime minister for the people of Delhi. We have provided our best candidates. Every party workers worked very hard in this election. We will continue our work for the people of Delhi," he said.
AAP East Delhi candidate Atishi congratulated her rival from BJP Gautam Gambhir, saying she would continue to work for her constituency. "And many thanks to the people of East Delhi. Have been overwhelmed by the love and affection I got here. I will always be available for you and shall continue my work here for a safer, more educated and developed East Delhi," the Oxford graduate said.
She thanked the volunteers of the AAP "who gave their heart and soul" to her campaign. "All of you are amazing! It gives me a great sense of hope that so many people from different walks have life have come together to bring change in this country," she said.
Chadha, in a long post on Facebook, said he respects the mandate of the people and congratulated all the winning MPs, including Bidhuri.
"As the Lok Sabha elections come to a close, people have spoken and we respect their mandate. I congratulate the BJP on its victory and do hope the seven elected MPs suitably reciprocate Delhiites for the trust placed in them. I hope the spirit of federalism moves them to work with the state government for a better Delhi, for all."Even as I congratulate Ramesh Bidhuri of BJP on his victory, I hope in the next five years he serves people of South Delhi constituency better than he has in the past five years," he said.
Right from slapping of Kejriwal during a road show to the Delhi chief minister claiming that Modi would murder him and even the issue related to distribution of obscene and derogatory pamphlets against Atishi, the AAP was in the midst of a number of controversies this election season.
The AAP was expecting to form an alliance with the Congress but the matter turned sour with a public war of words between Kejriwal and Congress president Rahul Gandhi. The speculation became rife after Gandhi and Kejriwal, along with other 'mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance) leaders, shared stage during a farmers' rally last year. While the AAP, on one hand, was looking to form an alliance on 33 seats in Delhi, Punjab, Goa, Haryana and Chandigarh with the grand old party, the Congress proposed a tie-up only in the national capital which proved to be a deal breaker for the Aam Aadmi Party.
Both the BJP and the Congress had started their campaign in the last two weeks before the voting in Delhi on May 12, but the AAP had begun its campaign right from March. The AAP had divided their Lok Sabha poll campaign in three phases.
The first phase was from March 10 to April 7 while the second phase was from April 10 to 25. In the first phase, 'jan sabhas' were conducted while in the second phase, door-to-door campaigning was done. The third phase of AAP's campaigning started from May 1-10.
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