Bawana bypoll: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Ram Chander defeated BJP's Ved Parkash by a huge margin, giving his party a reason to rejoice after a long time.
Bawana bypoll: Aam Aadmi Party candidate Ram Chander defeated BJP’s Ved Parkash by a huge margin, giving AAP a reason to rejoice after getting a drubbing from the saffron party in Delhi civic body elections early this year. Parkash, a turncoat from AAP and now an ex-MLA from Bawana, had joined BJP ahead of the MCD elections, necessitating the byelection.
Soon after the victory, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal gave at least two reasons for the victory of his candidate. Talking to reporters at his residence, Kejriwal said voters rejected BJP’s politics of “breaking away MLAs from other parties using the lure of money.”
“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,” PTI quoted him as saying.
Second major factor, if Kejriwal is to be believed, was the use of EVMs equipped with voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) for the first time in this constituency. Kejriwal even dared BJP to conduct elections with VVPAT-equipped EVMs. “Try and conduct all polls using VVPAT-equipped EVMs if you (the BJP) have the guts. Then tally the votes polled with the paper trail at 5 or 15 per cent of the polling booths. You do mischief in EVMs then claim victory,” he said.
Kejriwal’s claims may be true. However, there were certainly many other factors that led to the defeat of BJP candidate, if several reports are to be believed.
Hindustan Times today reported a BJP insider as saying that there was an internal bickering in the party, which resulted in the loss. Sources told HT that a section of the BJP was not happy with the way a senior BJP leader had managed ticket for turncoat Ved Parkash. Reportedly, Parkash doesn’t have a good rapport with villagers in Bawana.
BJP campaign was also not oriented properly. According to HT, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari intensified the campaign only after an internal survey predicted third position for the saffron party. In contrast, senior AAP leader Gopal Rai had campaigned in the constituency for over two months. Even Kejriwal campaigned for his party candidate on many days.
According to The Indian Express, many local voters in Bawana said AAP won because of rural angst and disillusionment with other parties. While some believed Ved Parkash didn’t deserve a second chance because he had abandoned voters after winning on AAP ticket just two years ago, others were influenced by AAP’s promises for rural areas of Delhi. One of the voters told IE that Kejriwal has promised Rs 2 crore per village for development, which was never done before by any government.
Several BJP leaders blamed anti-incumbency and negative image of Parkash as reasons behind his loss. “He was perceived as a deserter by locals after quitting the AAP. People were not happy with him as he had not made a mark even during his three years as the Bawana MLA,” PTI quoted a senior Delhi BJP leader as saying.