It will be the BJP.
Early counting trends indicated on Wednesday that the saffron party, as predicted in the exit polls, would retrain all three municipal corporations in Delhi.
A sweet revenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party that not only managed to beat 10 years of anti-incumbency but also avenged its decimation at the hands of Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party in the 2015 assembly election.
The impact of Wednesday’s verdict will be felt way beyond the Capital. Here is what it means for the BJP:
• Modi, the ‘wonder man’: The BJP will have another election result to show that Prime Minister Modi continues to generate “hope” and his “credibility” is intact. The civic poll results will further boost Brand Modi’s credentials of decimating rivals state after state.
• AAP in trouble: The so-called Modi wave that saw the BJP sweep the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and subsequent state elections ran into Kejriwal. It was the AAP and Kejriwal who halted Modi’s victory march in the 2015 Delhi assembly election. The BJP had to make do with just three seats in the 70-member assembly, as AAP got a record 67 MLAs. But the poor showing by the AAP in its citadel – coming on the back of Punjab and Goa debacles – could help the BJP fish in troubled waters. An AAP MLA has already defected to the BJP and more could follow.
• Gujarat relief: Kejriwal was eyeing Gujarat which is due to hold assembly election later this year. Gujarat is the home state of Modi as well as BJP president Amit Shah. Back to back defeats will do little to the morale of the AAP leadership and cadre. The Modi-Shah duo is now more comfortably placed to take on Kejriwal in Gujarat, where the party has been in power for almost 20 year and is facing a hostile Patidar community, which has traditionally backed the BJP.
• The big picture: As the BJP prepare for the 2019 Lok Sabha election, its rise and scale of its wins threatens the opposition parties. The presidential election in July will be the first occasion for the Opposition to show its unity. Things have started moving in that direction but rival parties have a long way to go before they put up a united face against the BJP. Modi and Shah will be glad if some rivals join hands to put up a fight. It helps the duo drive home the point that the BJP is growing.