Bawana Bypoll: Ever since his party got a thrashing from the BJP in Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections this year, Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal has been silently working for redemption from electoral reverses of the last two years. Kejriwal’s loud rhetoric against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP was rejected by voters in Delhi local body elections, Goa Assembly elections as well as in Punjab, where the party received a shock defeat from Congress.
Since the Delhi civic body elections in which AAP could win only 47 wards out to total 270, compared to BJP’s 184, Kejriwal has apparently changed his political strategy. Unlike the past, he has refrained from posting controversial tweets attacking Modi and Centre and tried to improve his connect with people of Delhi by visiting several areas, including schools, and addressing people’s concerns from his residence. On Twitter, Kejriwal mostly retweets posts of his party colleagues these days. His government’s recent warning against private schools of Delhi has been viewed positively by residents of the national capital as they continue to suffer from these high-fee guzzling institutions.
The MCD election defeat made AAP learn there is no short-cut to top. AAP wanted to become the national party but faltered initially in its approach. It has now changed ways for the good and also received positive comments from media. But then Kejriwal’s silent works in the last three months would be put to test in the high-stake Bawana by-election. A win will come as a huge relief for AAP. However, it may not come easy as not just Kejriwal’s party but the other two competitors have also left no stone unturned to win in the poll to be held on August 23.
The Bawana by-election was necessitated after AAP MLA Ved Parkash resigned from Delhi Assembly and returned to BJP ahead of the civic body elections in April this year. Ahead of 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, Parkash had quit BJP’s youth wing to join AAP. Now, he is contesting on a BJP ticket, while AAP has fielded Ram Chandra, a party volunteer who had earlier contested from Bawana in 2008 on a BSP ticket. The Congress candidate is three-time MLA Surender Kumar.
The three parties have been campaigning for their candidates for the last two months. Even, Kejriwal has visited the area several times, participated in padyatras and addressed small gatherings. Last week, he told voters his government would not be able to work in the area if BJP or Congress wins. The campaign turned tense on Saturday last when BJP Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari was allegedly attacked with “stones” and sharpened wood” at Jhanda Chowk. The BJP immediately blamed the opposition for the attack, but AAP demanded a probe by Delhi Police, which comes under BJP-led NDA at the Centre.
Two days ahead of the polls, AAP is hopeful for a win. But then it remains to be seen if the party has impressed the voters again.