AAP wins Bawana By-Poll, makes a comeback

After drubbing in MCD polls, pollsters and analysts wrote at length about AAP’s obituary. AAP is finished. In 2020 polls, BJP will make a comeback. In an article in FirstPost, I had emphasized, that we need to wait till 2020 before pronouncing any verdict.

In a high pitched battle, AAP won by-Polls for Bawana convincingly with a margin of 23,952 votes. The elections were necessitated by the resignation of Ved Parkash, AAP MLA, who was poached by BJP. People of the constituency taught Ved a lesson. BJP finished 2nd while Congress 3rd. It may be a good idea for BJP & Congress to form an alliance to defeat AAP. Else it looks difficult. People though voted for the good work done by AAP in education and health sectors.

BJP is now downplaying the results. If they had won, they would have been all over the town, trumpeting AAP’s demise. People of the constituency reposed faith in Kejriwal leadership. They out rightly rejected BJP’s jod-tod politics. While AAP contested on the development plank, BJP bolstered by MCD victory despite poor record, thought Delhi would vote again on Modi factor.

Highlights & Interesting Facts

– No. of voters in constituency is 2.94 lakhs, highest in the state of Delhi.
– Voting % was down from 62% in assembly polls to 44.8% due to loss of interest and happens in any by-poll.
– AAP candidate got 59,886 votes, BJP 35,934 votes and INC 31,919.
– While AAP (-13%) and BJP (-4%) lost vote shares, Congress gained (+16%) at the expense of both.
– AAP and Congress have overlapping vote shares and that’s why this has happened. No alarming bells for AAP yet.
– BJP lost vote share despite poaching AAP MLA Ved Parkash.
– This proves people of Delhi voted for Kejriwal & AAP, and not candidates. So he does enjoy Modi cult at least in Delhi.
– Congress & BJP candidates’ votes together were higher than AAP.
It’s personal between Modi-Shah & Kejriwal

Modi – Shah have a personal grudge against Kejriwal. After all he was the first one to stop BJP juggernaut in 2015. BJP has been trying to destabilize AAP govt. since its formation. From cases against AAP MLAs to EC compliant on office of profit to CBI raids to Lieutenant Governor’s overarching role, it is pretty clear.

After MCD elections, BJP tried its best to split AAP, backing Kumar Vishwas, who claimed backing of 35+ MLAs. But it didn’t work out as he was placated by Kejriwal. Then it backed Kapil Mishra who made scintillating claims of Kejriwal taking bribe of Rs. 2 crores. The saam-daam-dand-bhed policy of BJP didn’t work. It hoped it could do an Arunachal here.

It’s surprising that while BJP has been alleging most AAP MLAs have criminal records / are law breakers, it accepted an AAP MLA in its fold. The fact that it chose an AAP candidate to contest means it didn’t have candidates for the Bawana by-poll.

Its high time Election Commission looks into this by-elections thing after resignation of an MLA. A fixed tenure should be applicable in case of an MLA. If he / she resigns before term, then the person should not be allowed to contest again. BJP effectively thrust an election on voters of Delhi and its cost was borne by taxpayers like us.

AAP learnt from its mistakes

After loss in MCD polls, AAP went back to the drawing board and formulated a new strategy. Under this Kejriwal and company are keeping a low profile and focusing on development in Delhi. They have stopped the regular rants against Modi and BJP govt. at the center. They have realized they have been voted to govern and not do theatrics. Party managed to activate the volunteer network and its results are visible in Bawana, which has a sizeable Jat and Gujjar population.

To conclude, with BJP looking strong to win the 2019 polls and Congress losing state after state, there is a great need felt nationally for a strong opposition. The original AAP (of 2013 & 2015) can fill this void if it treads cautiously and delivers on governance in Delhi. It needs to also play the role of a responsible opposition in Punjab. It needs to go back to its roots and engage with aam aadmi on various issues which was its USP. The people of Bawana have rejected the ‘power at any cost’ politics of BJP. A section of voters feel BJP is the new Congress in many ways after Manipur and Goa. Kejriwal continues to be a troublemaker for Modi and Shah plans.

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