Updated: March 3, 2021 8:48:40 pm
A year before Delhi chooses who will govern the three municipal corporations in the state, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has won four out of five seats in byelections, the results of which were announced on Wednesday (March 3).
The AAP lost one seat to the Congress, and gained one from the BJP. The BJP failed to win any of the five seats.
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AAP has won the Rohini seat that was earlier with the BSP. That sitting councillor won the recent Assembly poll on an AAP ticket.
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AAP’s vote share was 46.10% in the five seats that went to bypolls; the BJP’s was 27.29%; and the Congress’s 21.84%.
There are 272 municipal wards in Delhi, and the elections were held for only five of those. However, the BJP’s loss at the Shalimar Bagh seat came as a surprise to many, since it is considered a stronghold of the party.
Similarly, the AAP’s loss in Chauhan Bangar, a Muslim-majority ward in North East Delhi which saw riots a year ago, has also raised questions. The Congress candidate in the area, Chaudhary Zubair Ahmad, defeated AAP’s Mohd Ishraq Khan by a margin of over 10,000 votes.
This seat was earlier held by AAP. The AAP losing the seat, and the number of votes polled by the Congress candidate, can be seen against the backdrop of the riots as well as the allegations of spreading the coronavirus against members of the Tablighi Jamaat, while AAP was in power in the state.
While AAP won the four other seats, BJP was the runner-up in all except Chauhan Bangar, indicating that barring a few select areas, the influence of Congress is still on the wane.
BJP has governed the municipal corporations in Delhi for almost four terms now, and AAP has opened an aggressive front against it alleging it has indulged in corruption and mismanagement, and harassed the people.
While Wednesday’s results are heartening for AAP, the party has retained seats in their stronghold in East Delhi, lost one in Northeast Delhi, and won two in North Delhi. The bigger, fiercer test awaits.
Congress, on the other hand, seems to have got a slight boost because of its win in one seat — but the runner-up positions on the other seats going to BJP indicates that it has not managed to pit itself as a formidable contender to either of the two parties.
The biggest loss, meanwhile, seems to have been suffered by the BJP, which has failed to win a single seat. Its vote share has also been half that of the AAP. Anti-incumbency presents a significant challenge for the party.
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