Who is Kejriwal? Sheila asked on poll day, got the answer on counting day
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On December 4, when Delhi cast its vote for the Assembly elections, its three-time Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, was visibly irritated when mediapersons asked her if the new entrant in Delhi politics, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal, was any competition. "Who is Arvind Kejriwal? What is AAP? Can you call it a party that can be compared to the Congress or the BJP? AAP is generally talked about because the gentleman and the party have a way of projecting themselves," she retorted.
Four days later, on Sunday, within a couple of hours after counting started, it became clear that Kejriwal would defeat Dikshit from her constituency in New Delhi. The AAP headquarters in Connaught Place, central Delhi, became the centre of noisy celebrations, while Dikshit's house on Motilal Nehru Marg wore a deserted look. While visuals of a victorious, smiling Kejriwal flashed across television channels, Dikshit shut herself inside her house, refusing to meet visitors who trickled in, or the waiting media. It took another couple of hours for the staggering margin of Dikshit's defeat to sink in, a trend that was captured in numbers by evening — 25,864 votes finally.
Dikshit, who has long been one of the most accessible politicians, emerged outside for a brief appearance at around 1 pm, to formally accept her defeat. "I thank the people of Delhi for supporting our government for 15 years. I also want to thank the media for supporting us. We respect the verdict. An analysis will be done later on what went right, what went wrong," she said. When asked if she thought they had failed to read the pulse of the people, Dikshit retorted, "Haan...hum toh bewakoof hain," before walking inside.
Soon after the AAP registered its party's symbol in September, Kejriwal had announced he would contest the polls from Dikshit's constituency. In his campaigns, he took on Dikshit personally, targeting her for the rising prices and "corruption".