The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) opened its account in Delhi’s municipal corporations on Tuesday but it was the Congress with four seats that emerged the biggest gainer after a bruising defeat in last year’s assembly elections.
While the AAP won five wards, the BJP was relegated to third spot with three seats in the bypolls held on Sunday.
The Congress’ tally was further boosted when a party rebel who contested as an independent candidate re-joined the party shortly after the results were declared, prompting state president Ajay Maken to describe the verdict as a “big victory”.
The Congress — which ruled Delhi for 15 years — failed to win a single seat in the Capital in the 2015 assembly polls that swept the AAP to power under Arvind Kejriwal. The Congress had also drawn a blank in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
All three municipal corporations in Delhi are controlled by the BJP, which holds 151 of the 272 seats in the three civic bodies.
The Congress now has 89 while 31 are with the AAP, BSP and independents. One seat in south Delhi municipal corporation is vacant after the death of a BJP councillor.
Final seat tally
|Names of MCD wards||Winning candidate & party|
|Quamruddin Nagar||Ashok Bharadwaj (Congress)|
|Shalimar Bagh (North)||BM Bhandari (BJP)|
|Ballimaran||Mohd Saddiq (AAP)|
|Navada||Krishan Gehlot (BJP)|
|Vikas Nagar||Ashok Kumar (AAP)|
|Nanakpura||Anil Malik (AAP)|
|Munirka||Yogita Rathee (Congress)|
|Bhati||Rajender Singh Tanwar (Independent)|
|Tehkhand||Abhishek Bidhuri (AAP)|
|Khichripur||Anand Kumar (Congress)|
|Jhilmil||Pankaj Luthra (Congress)|
|Wazirpur||Mahender Nagpal (BJP)|
Though elections to the civic bodies are due in April 2017, the bypolls in 13 wards were necessitated after the sitting councillors were elected to the Delhi assembly in 2013 and 2015.
Delhi chief minister Kejriwal thanked the people for helping the party emerge the largest party in the bypolls. “MCD ruled by BJP-Cong. Outsider AAP wins max seats in byelection. Thnx Delhi for reaffirming faith. Ab MCD election mein sabhi seat jeetni h (sic.),” Kejriwal tweeted.
MCD ruled by BJP-Cong. Outsider AAP wins max seats in byelection. Thnx Delhi for reaffirming faith. Ab MCD election mein sabhi seat jeetni h— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 17, 2016
For the BJP, the results will come as a disappointment as it managed to get the maximum percentage of votes and emerged runner-up in eight seats but could win only in three wards. In 2012, seven of the 13 municipal seats were won by the BJP while four were won by independents and one each by the BSP and RLD.
Leader of opposition in Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta, said the BJP was still the most “popular” party in the city but added the leadership “will introspect to find its weaknesses and remove them”.
In terms of voting percentage, BJP got 34.11, AAP 29.93 and the Congress 24.87. AAP had secured 52% votes in 2015 assembly polls.
The results, however, fell short of AAP’s expectations as it was looking for a “clean sweep” in the polls. The opposition parties had billed the bypolls as a barometer of the Kejriwal government’s popularity. And AAP leaders also campaigned on those lines, flagging the one-year report card of the Kejriwal government besides raising the issue of corruption in MCDs.
Political analysts, however, cautioned against extrapolating the bypolls results.
“No doubt the results are a disappointment for (the) AAP but considering these are municipal bypolls, one should not think that if state elections are held in Delhi today, they will see a similar response. Municipal and assembly elections are very different,” said Sanjay Kumar, director of Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.