Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal insisted on Friday that the crushing defeat in the Rajouri Garden assembly bypoll was due to local factors, and will not affect the party’s chances in the MCD elections.
Speaking to reporters at a public function, Kejriwal said he was confident the party would do much better when the city picks councillors for three civic corporations on April 23.
“Our MLA Jarnail Singh left the Rajouri Garden seat to fight the elections in Punjab. He has been speaking out for the Sikh community for a long time. But the people of Rajouri Garden did not like the fact that he left . They were angry with us, and though we tried to convince them during the campaign, it seems they did not get pacified,” Kejriwal told reporters.
AAP candidate Harjeet Singh forfeited his security deposit, getting only 10,243 votes. He was way behind Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela (25,950 votes) and the winner, BJP’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who got 40,602 votes. AAP’s vote share in Rajouri Garden dropped from 47% in 2015 to 13.1%.
The BJP’s city chief Manoj Tiwari had said on Thursday that AAP’s defeat indicated that “people have strongly rejected a fascist Tughlaqi rule under Kejriwal”.
But Kejriwal said, “The result will not have any impact on the MCD polls.”
On Thursday deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had also said that the party was defeated as people were angry over its sitting legislator Jarnail Singh quitting the seat to contest the Punjab polls, which resulted in bypolls.
While the result won’t impact AAP’s overwhelming majority in the Delhi assembly, the margin of defeat spells trouble for the party as it goes to polls again in 10 days to choose councillors for the city’s three municipal corporations.