An elated Aam Aadmi Party after winning the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls on Thursday vowed to improve civic amenities in the national capital while the Bharatiya Janata Party thanked voters for "recognising" its work as it took solace in securing over a hundred seats despite exit poll predicting its rout.
The BJP, which exit polls had predicted would suffer a massive defeat, put up a spirited fight to win 104 wards.
In what turned out to be a closer-than-expected contest, the AAP ended the BJP's 15-year stint in the MCD -- trifurcated in 2012 into north, south and east corporations and unified this year -- by winning 134 seats. The majority mark in the 250-ward civic body is 126.
The Congress won just nine seats while three wards went to Independent candidates.
BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla, on the other hand, said even after 15 years, the party retained its vote share on the basis of its work.
The BJP's northeast Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari, in a tweet in Hindi, thanked the people of Delhi and party workers for showing faith by giving so many seats to the party for the fourth consecutive time.
AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the barely 10-year-old party's "defeat" of the country's largest party (BJP) in their stronghold "have once again proved the AAP is a hardcore honest party."
The counting of votes began at 8 am and initial trends favoured the BJP. At one point, the BJP was leading in 107 seats and the AAP in 95.
But as the counting progressed, the AAP went past the BJP and slowly consolidated its lead, finally winning 134 wards. The BJP bagged 104 seats, thus not losing as badly as was predicted by the exit polls.
Singh also said the results were remarkable considering the BJP had deployed several top leaders, including 17 Union ministers, for the election campaign.
"The BJP would always say AAP has only defeated the Congress. Today, (Delhi Chief Minister Arvind) Kejriwal has given them an answer," he said.
AAP convener Kejriwal also thanked Delhiites for "choosing their son, brother" to run the civic body.
Addressing supporters at the party office in the national capital, Kejriwal said he would try to live up to people's expectations and urged all parties to come together to improve Delhi.
"We have to improve the condition of Delhi (for which we) need the cooperation of the BJP, the Congress and also blessings of the Centre and the prime minister," he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann called it a victory for Delhi's common people and said, "Congratulations to everyone. Politicians fight elections but people win. After 15 years, the public has won. The AAP has won the hearts of people."
AAP leader and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said his "hardcore honest" party had defeated the "world's biggest and most negative party".
"Heartfelt gratitude to the people of Delhi for trusting (the) Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi MCD. By defeating the world's biggest and most negative party, the people of Delhi have made a hardcore honest and working @ArvindKejriwalji win," Sisodia said in a tweet in Hindi.
"For us, this is not just a victory, it is a big responsibility," he said.