Millennium Post

Kejriwal surges ahead

Kejriwal surges ahead
Arvind Kejriwal, appears poised to lead Delhi, according to very early trends from exit polls on Saturday evening. An aggregate of six major exit polls (Nielsen, C-Voter, Cicero, News Nation, Axis APM, Today’s Chanakya) showed Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) garnering 41 seats, enough to secure a comfortable majority. “This is based on data till 3 pm. Let us not read too much into it ,” cautioned Kiran Bedi, who is running as the BJP’s presumptive Chief Minister against Kejriwal.

If AAP wins, it will mark the first major setback for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the eight months since he won the national election with a rousing mandate. Delhi voters turned up in large numbers - voter turnout rose to nearly 67 per cent, higher than last year’s national election, or the last Assembly election a year ago, which saw Kejriwal taking office for a 49-day term with a minority government. But unlike that result, things have changed dramatically in the Capital, Kejriwal and his anti-corruption party seem on the brink of relegating BJP to the second spot when the results are announced on Tuesday. The victory will be a sweet revenge for Kejriwal, who was drubbed by the PM when they both contested from Varanasi in May’s general election.

In an attacking campaign, the Prime Minister described Kejriwal as a “back-stabber” who fled office when things got tough.  Modi also cautioned voters that Delhi had no place for a self-confessed anarchist.

As opinion polls over the last few days predicted a win for Kejriwal, BJP leaders went into a huddle and were quick to add that the Delhi result cannot be taken as a referendum on PM Modi.

Kejriwal has everything to lose with this election. His ill-advised decision to quit as Chief Minister in February was compounded by AAP collecting a scanty four seats in Parliament, emphasising that the party’s only stronghold is Delhi.

Kejriwal’s campaign promised lower utility bills and free wi-fi for Delhi’s 1.7 crore residents, as well as pledges to tackle corruption with an iron fist.
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