After a string of electoral defeats, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) got the much-needed win at Bawana. Its candidate Ram Chander defeated BJP’s Ved Prakash by a margin of 24,000 votes. Prakash had quit the AAP to join the BJP. In the 70-member Delhi Assembly, AAP now has 66 seats and the BJP four.
This victory is also significant as it comes close on the heels of the municipal corporation elections, which the BJP had swept. It also demonstrated that BJP state unit chief Manoj Tiwari’s appeal among the poorabiya population from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar was tenuous at best.
Congress’s Surender Kumar, who held the Bawana seat from 1998 to 2013, came in third.
One of the 12 reserved seats in Assembly, Bawana is semi-urban, semi-rural with a large migrant and Dalit populations. Bawana’s 26 villages have traditionally voted for the BJP and the colonies for the Congress. This changed in 2013 when the slums too voted for the BJP. The AAP seems to have won at the expense of the Congress.
AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister was naturally jubilant after tasting victory, and accused the BJP of trying to break the party by buying out its MLAs.
“They tried to buy many of our MLAs, contacted many, but only one turned out to be a traitor. One thing is clear, we are of a different mettle. And if any one sells himself, then the people of Delhi will leave him in a position where he will not be able to show his face in public anymore,” he said.
Though the result of the other by-elections was not a surprise, some parties did surprisingly badly.
The Goa Suraksha Manch, a breakaway group of the BJP led by estranged Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Subhash Velingkar, won only 220 seats in Panaji.
In Nandyal the YSR Congress, led by Jaganmohan Reddy, had fielded Silpa Chandra Mohan Reddy, a former state minister. He lost by 27,000 votes to political greenhorn and Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP’s) candidate Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy.
The election was caused by the death of Bhuma Nagi Reddy, the sitting member of the Legislative Assembly.