Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit's hopes to replicate her winning streak in assembly polls in the civic elections came to naught with the Congress party losing the elections. Her move to trifurcate the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, in the face of opposition from some Congress leaders, had boomeranged, BJP officials said.
The Delhi civic polls were also seen as a litmus test for the Congress - coming ahead of elections to the state assembly polls next year and the country two years later.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) retained power in the civic body, winning 138 seats of the 272 wards, while the Congress secured 78 seats. In the 2007 elections, the BJP had won 164 seats and the Congress had bagged 64 wards.
Dikshit pushed through the trifurcation of the civic body last year, overcoming opposition by Delhi Congress chief JP Agarwal. She got backing from the union government in her move which she said was aimed at better administration of the humongous civic body.
While the BJP's win has come as a shot in the arm for the party, which is eyeing power in the 2013 assembly elections, for the Congress the results have come as a blow - coming in the wake of recent poll losses in Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Punjab.
Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit, who is Dikshit's son, admitted that people of Delhi had voted on national issues like corruption and price rise and not on local issues.
"We had taken a lot of proactive steps, but somewhere we went wrong," Dikshit, an MP from east Delhi, said.
But BJP's national president Nitin Gadkari clearly saw it as a mandate for coming to power at the centre too in the 2014 general elections.
"This will give direction to other polls," a smiling Gadkari asserted.
"We are confident that the coming assembly and Lok Sabha polls will also show victory of BJP, we are confident."
The local BJP leaders say the "biggest mistake" of the Delhi government was dividing the MCD into three parts.
"The decision of trifurcating of MCD by Sheila Dikshit has boomeranged. She must introspect," Delhi Mayor Rajini Abbi of the BJP told IANS.
MCD, which was once a huge body with 272 wards, split into north, east and south zones.
There are now 104 wards each in the south and north corporations and 64 in the east. Of the 272 seats, 138 are reserved for women.