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Bawana bypoll: AAP says anti-incumbency burden on BJP candidate

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is banking on the pull factor of ‘being in power’, and the ‘individual anti-incumbency’ against BJP candidate Ved Parkash who quit as AAP legislator, to taste electoral success in the Bawana assembly bypoll on August 23.

delhi Updated: Aug 01, 2017 23:20 IST
Vishal Kant
Vishal Kant
Hindustan Times
Bawana bypoll,Bawana assembly constituency,Ved Prakash
The bypoll to Bawana Assembly constituency will be held on August 23. The Aam Aadmi Party has been trying to set the poll agenda for the past more than a month with Gopal Rai leading the campaign. The BJP has nominated former AAP legislator Ved Prakash as its candidate. (Sonu Mehta/HT Photo)

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is banking on the pull factor of ‘being in power’, and the ‘individual anti-incumbency’ against BJP candidate Ved Parkash who quit as AAP legislator, to taste electoral success in the Bawana assembly bypoll on August 23.

In an effort to buck the trend after back to back electoral losses in the Rajouri Garden bypoll and the municipal elections, the party machinery, led by labour minister Gopal Rai, has been active in the assembly seat for the past two months, strengthening its volunteer base and trying to set the agenda for the election.

“The biggest advantage for AAP in the bypoll is the fact that it is the ruling party. One of the major underlining discourses in the assembly is who can offer better for the assembly, in terms of development, over the remaining two-and-a-half-year term,” said Rai, the convener of AAP’s Delhi unit.

“The second biggest agenda are the candidates in fray. On that front, the liability of justifying why Parkash quit as legislator lies on the BJP. This is completely different from the Rajouri bypoll, where we could not come convince the electorate and paid the price,” he added.

The bypoll in Bawana has been necessitated after AAP legislator Ved Parkash quit the Delhi assembly just ahead of the municipal elections to join the BJP.

One of the 12 reserved seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly, Bawana is a mix of slum clusters, unauthorised colonies, 26 rural villages and a few pockets of Rohini.

The AAP leaders feel the party draws its strength from the unauthorised colonies and slum clusters. The party, therefore, fielded its candidate from one of these colonies this time.

AAP candidate Ramchandra is a resident of Shahbad dairy, one of the biggest slum colonies in the area. Being a Purvanchali, Rammchandra is expected to mobilise voters in the clusters dominated by migrants from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh.

The party think tanks are of the view that the government has initiated development works in the relatively undeveloped area that would pay political dividends in the bypoll.

“Over the past two-and-a-half years, development works worth R207 crore were allocated in the assembly under different heads. The assembly received extra funds under the mohalla sabha scheme that was implemented on a pilot basis in 11 assembly seats in 2015,” Rai said.

Though AAP draws its strengths from slum clusters and unauthorised colonies, the ruling party is trying to make inroads in the rural villages, which have been the bastion of the BJP and Congress, by putting forward a development blueprint and special fund allocation.

The Delhi government has recently constituted a rural area development board and has decided to allocate R 2 crore to each village annually under the ‘Smart Village’ scheme. Gopal Rai has been holding seedhi baat events in these villages for the purpose, during which suggestions of the villagers are being sought on priority projects.

First Published: Aug 01, 2017 23:18 IST