WHAT STARTED as a close contest ended with the AAP comfortably winning the Bawana assembly bypolls in Delhi with a margin of over 24,000, and 45 per cent of the votes. The BJP and Congress finished a distant second and third, respectively.
The polls had offered AAP a chance to stall the run of three key electoral losses — the Punjab and Goa assembly elections, and the MCD polls. The BJP had hoped to build on the momentum from its victory in the MCD polls earlier this year. And, for the Congress, this was a chance to return to the assembly, where they haven’t had any representation since 2015.
AAP candidate Ram Chander got 59,886 votes (45.38%) while BJP’s Ved Prakash, who had won the 2015 assembly polls on an AAP ticket, received 35,834 votes (27.15%). Congress candidate, Surender Kumar, the legislator from 1998 to 2013, trailed with 31,919 votes (24.19%).
Speaking to workers after the win, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “The work that we are doing is not reaching the public. We have to stay alert. We have to discuss the work that we have been doing and for this we need to work a little hard.” The BJP’s Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari said he took full responsibility for the loss. “I am the unit chief and I will take responsibility for the loss… I am also responsible to ensure a win in the future,” he said.
Congress spokesperson Sharmishtha Mukherjee said, “Congress is the only party which has made gains in Bawana. We improved our vote share to nearly 25 per cent from 7.87 per cent in the 2015. On the other hand, the vote shares of both AAP and BJP have gone down.”
With electronic voting machines equipped with VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) being used in all polling stations for the first time in this constituency, a total of 1,413 people opted for NOTA or the ‘none of the above’ category.