After getting major setbacks in the Punjab and Goa assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party was back on its home ground, Delhi for the Rajouri Garden bypolls. However, as it turned out the Aam Aadmi candidate from the seat finished on the thrid spot as the BJP-SAD candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa finished on the top spot followed by the Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela. The margin of victory was a convincing 14,652 votes. BJP President Amit Shah looked happy with the result and posted a tweet saying, “We will offer sweets after MCD polls.”
The bigger problem for Aam Aadmi Party and Arvind Kejriwal at the moment, however, is the continuously declining vote share. When Arvind Kejriwal-led party won the state elections in 2015 winning 67 out of 70 seats, its vote share was recorded at 54 per cent. However, in Thursday’s by-elections, the AAP candidate got only 13 percent votes.
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“Our internal party survey showed our candidate was losing and we were prepared for that. What has got senior party functionaries worried is that Harjeet Singh lost his deposit and managed to poll only 13 percent votes. At a time when the municipal elections are so close, it is not a good sign for the party. Losing a seat is understandable, but losing so much support is not,” a senior party leader who did not wish to be named told The Indian Express.
“It is common knowledge that AAP rose on the back of votes Congress lost. Thursday’s results show our voters are disillusioned by the AAP’s promises,” said a party leader. Yogendra Yadav, the former Aam Aadmi Party member also attacked the leadership by saying it is in self-destructive mode. “We are witnessing a bizarre and tragic spectacle in democratic politics. The BJP is waging an all-out war to finish the AAP. But it may not succeed. The AAP leadership is out in a self-destruction mode. And we do not know which comes first, the murder or the suicide,” he alleged.