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Rajouri Garden win: It’s the beginning of the end of AAP, says jubilant BJP

The Rajouri bypoll was a crucial test for the BJP, especially after its dismal performance in Punjab where it had contested with the Shiromani Akali Dal.

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2017 23:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rajouri Garden,Rajouri Garden bypoll,Rajouri Garden by election
Rajouri Garden bypoll winner Manjinder Singh Sirsa (left) along with BJP national president Amit Shah in New Delhi on Thursday. (Arun Sharma/HT Photo)

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) victory in the Rajouri Garden assembly bypoll -- touted as a semi-final before the April 23 municipal elections -- by huge margin of about 14,000 votes has come as a shot in the arm for the party in Delhi.

Despite its impressive show in the 2014 general elections in April—it had won all seven Lok Sabha seats and its vote share was 47 %--, the BJP was routed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the assembly elections held a year later.

The party won just three seats in the 70-member assembly in the February 2015 polls.

The Rajouri bypoll was a crucial test for the BJP, especially after its dismal performance in Punjab where it had contested with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

In the 2013 assembly polls, BJP-SAD candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa had won the seat with 41,721 votes, which was nearly 41% of the total votes polled.

But in 2015, Sirsa lost the seat. The BJP’s vote share reduced by 3 %.

After Thursday’s victory, the party leaders are also elated because the BJP-SAD’s vote share registered a 14 % increase. There are now four BJP legislators in the Delhi assembly.

“The BJP has strong vote base in the city, which does not get affected. The good thing is we have managed to dent the vote share of the Congress and AAP. Our vote share has also increased,” said leader of Opposition in the Delhi assembly, Vijender Gupta.

Gupta said the victory of Sirsa was ‘beginning of the end of AAP’. “The Rajouri Garden bypoll result reflects the mood of the people of Delhi who have lost faith in Arvind Kejriwal and AAP. Kejriwal and his party took Delhi voters for granted and now they have been paid back,” he said.

Explaining why the victory was important for the party, West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said Rajouri Garden seat comprised all sections of society-- posh areas, slum clusters, Muslims, Sikhs, and Punjabis -- and they voted for the BJP.

“It will send a message across the city. People are sad with AAP’s performance in Delhi. Kejriwal only does politics of lies and people cannot accept it,” he said.

Buoyed by the result, BJP leaders dubbed its victory as a reflection of the ‘Modi wave’ and exuded confidence of sweeping the municipal polls by a two-third’s majority. They also demanded resignation of the Delhi CM.

“By-elections all over the country have proved high the Modi wave. The day is marked as Loktantra Vijay Diwas in Delhi as people have strongly rejected a fascist, Tughlaqi ruler Kejriwal,” Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari said.

“In this poll, the AAP candidate has lost his deposit, which indicates people are very angry with the AAP government’s poor performance in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal makes excuses not to work in Delhi despite the fact that people had given him a huge mandate in the assembly polls,” Sirsa said.

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 23:23 IST