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Bawana bypoll: Only 45% exercise franchise in prestige battle

Bawana Assembly constituency is witnessing a triangular contest between AAP, BJP and Congress. Over 2.9 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bypoll being held today. Polling percentage in 2015 assembly polls was 61.83 per cent

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2017 22:35 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Press Trust of India
Bawana bypoll,Delhi byelection,Bawana polling
Polling for the bypoll to Bawana Assembly constituency was slow as only 35 per cent of an estimated 2.94 lakh voters exercised their franchise by 3pm.(HT Photo)

The byelection to the Bawana assembly seat on Wednesday saw a low voter turnout with only 45% electorates casting their votes in a poll that been dubbed as a barometer of influence in the capital of the three main political parties in the fray.

The result of the election will be declared on August 28. The outcome experts said could determine more than just who represents the Bawana constituency.

The Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP and the Congress are locked in a three-corner fight for the assembly seat, necessitated due to AAP MLA Ved Parkash quitting the party to rejoin the BJP in March ahead of the municipal elections.

While a victory for the AAP will boost the morale of the party, which has witnessed several electoral reverses after their emphatic win in 2015 assembly elections, a win for the resurgent BJP is likely to make the saffron party more aggressive against the ruling dispensation.

A victory for Congress on the other hand would be a window of opportunity for the grand old party’s revival in city politics.

The low voter turnout, however, is likely to make the result even more interesting. On Wednesday, Bawana witnessed a sizeable dip in voting from the last assembly elections in 2015, during which the constituency had witnessed 61.83% polling. The city’s average polling average then was 67.13%.

The leaders of all three parties claimed victory in Bawana after polling drew to a close.

Delhi BJP vice president Rajiv Babbar said that the BJP is well-placed in Bawana and party is ‘expecting a victory margin of over 10,000’.

Exuding confidence of his party’s victory, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken too said, “The support for Congress has been increasing. In 2015 assembly election, the Congress candidate got 7% votes. In the MCD elections, the Congress garnered 15% of the votes polled. From that increasing base, we are confident of our victory.”

AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardawaj said that the feedback from Bawana is hinting at AAP’s victory even as he blamed the choice of election date behind the low voter turnout.

“Low voter turnout is not good for democracy. There was no compulsion for the election commission to hold the bypoll on a weekday. It should have been on a holiday,” Bhardwaj said

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 17:16 IST