In a jolt to the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday won the Bawana Assembly bypoll by a margin of over 24,000 votes, defeating former party legislator Ved Prakash who defected to the BJP.
After the final round of counting, AAP candidate Ram Chander got 59,886 votes against 35,834 votes of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s Ved Prakash. Congress candidate Surender Kumar got 31,919 votes, an election commission official announced.
The by-poll was necessitated after Ved Prakash quit the AAP and resigned from the assembly seat to join the BJP.
“Aam Aadmi Party has won and we would like to thank the people. VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) has been used and we're thankful for that. BJP will now be removed,” Delhi minister Satyendar Jain said.
The Bawana by-election has been considered as a barometer of political influence in the capital city. The result settles a battle for political prestige as the ruling AAP has not seen an electoral victory after it stormed to power in the 2015. The BJP, at any cost, was trying to bag the seat, reserved for the SC category. Though it was a neck and neck fight between AAP and Congress in the early hours, the BJP managed to emerged in second place.
Eight candidates were in the fray but essentially the AAP, the BJP and the Congress were locked in a triangular contest. Ved Prakash had resigned from Assembly membership and joined the BJP in March this year, necessitating the by-election. The AAP's candidate is Ram Chandra, while the Congress has placed its bet on former three-time MLA from Bawana, Surendra Kumar.
There are 2.94 lakh voters in Bawana, including 1,64,114 males, 1,30,143 females and 25 third gender voters. Voting was held peacefully in 379 polling stations across the Assembly constituency on 23 August.