Beyond Chandigarh: BJP Win Raises Questions about AAP’s North India Challenge in 2024

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal unleashed a fiery salvo against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday, accusing them of rigging the Chandigarh mayoral polls and drawing a parallel to former US President Donald Trump’s refusal to accept defeat in the 2020 elections.

The AAP chief’s outburst came after the BJP swept the Chandigarh mayoral polls, winning all three posts – Mayor, Senior Deputy Mayor, and Deputy Mayor. Kejriwal, whose Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had formed an alliance with the Congress for the elections, alleged widespread electoral malpractices and manipulation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

“The entire country saw what happened in the Chandigarh mayoral polls. It was a black day for democracy. Everyone saw how they stole votes and forcibly made their candidate win,” Kejriwal charged at a press conference.

He further compared the BJP’s victory to Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of a rigged election and his refusal to concede defeat. “They (BJP) will do the same in the country. If they lose the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, they will not let go of power so easily. They will create a big ruckus,” Kejriwal warned.

The AAP’s Chandigarh unit has also echoed Kejriwal’s accusations, claiming their mayoral candidate faced unfair tactics and voter intimidation from the BJP. They have announced plans to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking fresh polls for the mayoral post.

The BJP, however, has dismissed Kejriwal’s allegations as “sour grapes” and a desperate attempt to deflect from their defeat. “The AAP should accept the people’s mandate gracefully instead of resorting to such baseless accusations,” stated a BJP spokesperson.

The Chandigarh mayoral polls, though local in nature, have acquired national significance due to the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The AAP’s defeat and Kejriwal’s strong reaction raise questions about the party’s electoral strategy and its ability to challenge the BJP’s dominance in the north Indian region.

Whether Kejriwal’s Trump-inspired ‘refusal to accept defeat’ becomes a national campaign strategy for the AAP in the 2024 elections remains to be seen. However, his outburst has certainly injected a dose of drama and intrigue into the already heated political landscape ahead of the crucial polls.