A day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) scored a massive victory in the Delhi Assembly elections, winning as many as 67 of the 70 seats, newspapers around the world acknowledged the historic feat in colourful pieces about the engineer of change in the national capital – Arvind Kejriwal.
The AAP tsunami in Delhi engulfed the Narendra Modi wave and left the Bharatiya Janata Party reeling with only three seats while the Congress party that ruled Delhi for 15 years, was totally routed in an election seen as a mandate for secularism and rejection of dynastic politics.
Describing the Delhi elections as a ‘smaller political earthquake’, Gardiner Harris and Ellen Barry wrote in the NYT yesterday, “Kejriwal managed to outmaneuver Mr. Modi on multiple levels, not only projecting himself as the true agent of change but also as a man from humble circumstances.”
"For Mr. Modi, the Delhi results represent the first resounding defeat since his Bharatiya Janata Party," the article stated.
The AFP quoted analysts as saying that the result was a blow for a prime minister who has enjoyed an "extended honeymoon with voters since his landslide general election victory".
The Associated Press called the AAP an “upstart” party that has sent a clear message to Prime Minister Modi “that he was not invincible despite his party’s strong showing in state elections since it was swept to power last year”.
This is Modi’s first “political bloody nose”, CNN pointed out.
“In the past few weeks the word chemistry has been much in vogue in India's capital. The branch of science is often invoked to describe Prime Minister Narendra Modi's easy, visible bonding with a wide spectrum of Indians: from the poorest to the CEOs of the country's biggest companies,” wrote Ravi Agrawal and Harmeet Shah Singh for CNN.
“This week New Delhi will be talking about a very different scientific discipline: physics. After all, what goes up must come down,” they wrote.
Dean Nelson, writing for The Telegraph in London, speculated whether Modi's jacket pinstriped with gold lines of his own name affected voters and led to the humiliating defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the Delhi elections.
"His choice of a dark Bandhgala Nehru jacket pinstriped with gold lines of his own full name suddenly traded his carefully crafted image from selfless leader who had sacrificed his personal life for India's betterment for self-aggrandising and insecure megalomaniac who needs the reassurance of his own name woven into his fabric," wrote Nelson.
BBC profiled Kejriwal as the man who is seen as a "guy-next-door turned political upstart".
It reasoned that the BJP's campaign was essentially anti-AAP while Kejriwal conducted an "energetic campaign which proved popular with working class and underprivileged voters who make up 60% of Delhi's population".