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Bypoll in north Delhi’s Bawana today, victory crucial for Aam Aadmi Party

AAP would like to buck the trend over the past two years during which the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has suffered a series of electoral losses both in Delhi and outside.

delhi Updated: Aug 23, 2017 10:10 IST
Vishal Kant
Vishal Kant
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bawana,Bawana Bypoll,Bawana Assembly Seat
Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal, with Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia address a press conference at his residence in New Delhi, on April 3, 2017. (HT Photo)

About three lakh voters in Bawana assembly seat will be exercising their franchise on Wednesday to choose their representative.

Beginning at 8am, polling will continue till 6pm. Counting of votes will be done on August 28.

The Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP and the Congress are locked in a three-corner fight in assembly seat, the outcome of which could determine more than just who represents the Bawana constituency.

Bawana is one of the 12 reserved constituencies for scheduled castes in the 70-member Delhi assembly.

Bypoll in this North Delhi constituency is being held as Aam Aadmi Party legislator Ved Parkash had quit the assembly to join the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the municipal elections in April.

Parkash is in the fray on BJP ticket this time round while the AAP has fielded Ram Chandar, who contested 2008 assembly election on a BSP ticket but lost. The Congress has fielded party’s old horse Surender Kumar, who has won the assembly seat thrice — in 1998, 2003 and 2008.

The BJP represented the seat on two occasions (1993 and 2013), while the AAP won in 2015.

AAP MLA from Bawana Ved Prakash joining BJP in New Delhi on March 27, 2017. (PTI)

The Bawana assembly seat is dotted with 26 villages, slum clusters, unauthorised colonies and parts of Rohini sector 20 and 21.

The demographic diversity also gets reflected in the problems plaguing the area — from lack of transport for rural villages to basic amenities like drinking water, roads, drains and sewerage.

The electoral outcome is critical for the ruling AAP as it would like to buck the trend over the past two years during which the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has suffered a series of electoral losses both in Delhi and outside.

Save for the 2015 landslide Vidhan Sabha victory, AAP has grappled with back-to-back losses in Delhi (civic elections, Rajouri Garden bypoll), besides the below-expectations performance in Punjab and Goa assembly elections.

On the other hand, a victory for the BJP will be a shot in arm as the saffron party has been on resurgence mode after a humiliating defeat at the hands of AAP in 2015 assembly elections.

The party was able to beat a decade-long anti-incumbency in the municipal corporations besides garnering comfortable win in the Rajouri Garden assembly bypoll ahead of the civic polls.

The Congress, which remains unrepresented in the Delhi assembly, is looking for a revival in the city politics after drawing a blank in 2015 assembly polls.

A victory in Bawana will open a window of opportunity for the grand old party, which ruled the city for 15 years but saw its core vote bank — dwellers in slum, JJ clusters and unauthorised colonies — erode to the AAP which emerged on the city’s political scene in 2013.

First Published: Aug 23, 2017 07:50 IST