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  Metros   Delhi  14 Apr 2017  Defeat a beginning of end for AAP?

Defeat a beginning of end for AAP?

THE ASIAN AGE. | SANJAY KAW
Published : Apr 14, 2017, 2:05 am IST
Updated : Apr 14, 2017, 2:05 am IST

Party’s future bleak if it fails to perform at upcoming civic polls.

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal with BJP-SAD joint candidate for Rajouri Garden seat Manjinder Singh Sirsa during a press conference in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)
 Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal with BJP-SAD joint candidate for Rajouri Garden seat Manjinder Singh Sirsa during a press conference in New Delhi. (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The buzz in the local political circles is that the outcome of the Rajouri Garden bypoll may be the beginning of the end of the AAP in Delhi politics. If the party is unable to perform well in the upcoming civic polls, that is going to raise a question mark on the future survival of the AAP. The party, which shocked one and all by winning 67 of the 70 Assembly seats, not only ended up on the third position in the bypoll but its candidate lost his security deposit by securing just 10,243 votes, which is less than one sixth of the total votes polled.

The bypoll result is not the first occasion when the voters indicated that AAP’s phenomenon was fading in Delhi. In the recent bypoll in 13 municipal wards, the party was able to win only five wards. What came as a shocker was the resounding comeback of the Congress, which was able to win five wards. One rebel Congress leader who won as an independent candidate later, joined back the party fold.

Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela, who is also a councillor, secured 25,950 votes. In the last Assembly poll, she was able to get only 14,167 votes. The voter turnout was as low as 46.23 per cent compared to 72 per cent in the previous election.

Traditionally a Congress stronghold, the party had earlier lost this seat on two occasions, one in 2013 to SA(Badal)-BJP combine candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa and in 2015 to AAP’s Jarnail Singh, who is now being held responsible by the party for its disasterous performance. It was only because of Mr Singh that the bypolls were held as the seat fell vacant earlier this year after he quit as MLA to contest Punjab Assembly poll against SAD patron Prakash Singh Badal.

The latest bypoll results demonstrate that the party had lost its vote bank in Rajouri Garden seat, which has a population mix of slums, unauthorised colonies, middle and upper class voters and urban villages. Out of, over 1.6 lakh electors, nearly 47 per cent of West Delhi seat voters had exercised their franchise in the byelections. It is the same mix of voters who had voted for the party across the city in the last Assembly elections. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken, who held the seat thrice, and has the credit of winning it twice by the highest ever margins, said the bypoll results have clearly shown that people of Delhi have outrightly rejected AAP.

“We are bound to emerge as the clear winner in the coming civic elections. AAP is now completely out of race.”

Slipping down to the third position suggests that only a small percentage of voters had voted for AAP and are traditionally those who have always been against the two biggies, the Congress and the BJP.

For instance, the Janata Dal candidate who ended up on third position, when the first Assembly elections were held way back in 1993, was able to secure only 2.64 per cent of the total votes polled. Again in 1998, the BSP candidate who stood third got just 1.99 per cent votes. RSP candidate Sarup Singh got 1.5 per cent votes on the third position in 2003 and BSP’s Virender Kumar was able to get 7.23 per cent on the same position in the 2004 bypoll. It was only after 2008 elections that the candidates who ended up on number three positions were able to get voter percentage in double digits.

Tags: rajouri garden bypoll, delhi civic polls, manjinder singh sirsa
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi