Rajouri Garden bypoll: Non-performance, blame games have cost Aam Aadmi Party dearly
Delhi voters have lost confidence in the Aam Aadmi Party following its non-performance and blame games The voters have also got the feeling that chief minister Arvind Kejriwal doesn't have the time for the state of Delhi any more, and nor do his MLAs. The results of Punjab and Goa Assembly elections last month, which also went against AAP, indicates it's not just Delhi voters who feel this way.
Bypoll results would put Congress in a difficult spot. Though it could win only two out of 10 seats that went to the polls in eight states, it registered victory in both the seats in Karnataka where it rules. The good news for the party is that this victory came a day after Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi led a group of opposition leaders to President Pranab Mukherjee where besides some other issues, they raised EVM tampering charge against ruling BJP and EC.
Sonia and Rahul's position on EVM was in complete disregard to the "defeatist" mindset of Congress position taken by senior party leader Veerapa Moily, former Karnataka chief minister and former law minister. Congress president-vice president, mother-son duo also disregarded position taken by Punjab Chief minister Amrinder Singh.
They also didn't care that it was Rajeev Gandhi government with its brute majority in Parliament which had given legal teeth to the EVM by amending Representation of People Act and made it applicable for all elections to be held in India. What would Congress say now on its EVM tampering charge, particularly with reference to its victory in Karnataka by-polls. That's something nation would be keenly watching.
Quick reactions to the Rajouri Garden bypoll result
Vijender Gupta, BJP MLA and Opposition Leader, Delhi Assembly: This is the beginning of an end for the AAP. Today’s bypoll result reflects the mood of the people of Delhi, who have lost faith in Arvind Kejriwal and AAP. Kejriwal has taken Delhi voters for granted and has got it back. This victory is a launching pad for Delhi BJP for the upcoming MCD polls.
Manish Sisodia, Deputy CM, Delhi: This bypoll result reflects people’s anger as the Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh left to contest Punjab polls. We tried to explain to the voters but it didn’t work. But, no problem, the government will showcase its two-year performance and win MCD election.
Yogendra Yadav, President, Swaraj India: From this result, one thing that is clear is that people have lost faith in AAP. The AAP leadership is into self-destruction mode. Only question is whether they commit suicide before murder. People’s disillusionment with AAP is clear as their vote share has declined from 47% in 2015 to 11% today.
Kulwant Kaur, Rajouri Garden resident: It was a mistake voting AAP to power in 2015 Assembly election. Now, residents of Rajouri Garden have realised it and have voted for BJP in large numbers. The result proves that BJP has won this seat today.
Abhishek Aneja, Rajouri Garden resident and Chartered Accountant: This was expected, because people have got disillusioned with AAP’s way of politics and performance of Delhi government. Here in Rajouri Garden, suddenly, our MLA Jarnail Singh quit to contest Punjab election. It shows he had no attachment, responsibility and accountability for this seat and his voters. He had to pay for his deed and the anger amongst Rajouri Garden voters.
BJP biggest winner
By-election in 10 assembly seats, spread across eight states including Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Bengal has come as yet another booster for the ruling BJP. The party has won or is leading in six seats in Assam, HP, MP, Delhi and Rajasthan.
All in all, the BJP is the net gainer from the seats it held in the past, prior to these by-elections. Gain of Delhi's Rajouri Gaden seat after conclusively defeating AAP would be a big morale booster. The victory is even sweeter for the BJP for it comes after resounding victories in Uttar Pradesh and Uttranchal, as also a series of good performances in urban civic and rural Panchayat elections in different states including Gujarat, Maharastra, Orissa, Rajathan etc.
This also comes ahead of BJP national executive meeting to be held in Bhubaneswar over this weekend. The issue is sure to add to the overall mood buoyancy in the BJP. Next month, when BJP would officially be celebrating Modi government's three years in power, results of general elections and these bypolls would form a major talking point. The BJP would claim that Modi wave continues to blow with vigour.
Congress leads in Ater by 569 votes in 10th round: News18
AAP loses deposit and face
Aam Aadmi Party's loss in Rajouri Gadren is even more damaging for Arvind Kejriwal because conventional wisdom suggests that the ruling party gets an undue advantage in by-elections. Though there is no substantive reason behind this belief, there are various examples in the present and past when the ruling party was generally the gainer.
The damage to Kejriwal becomes more grievous because the fact that his party candidate Harjeet Singh could secure only 10,243 votes, about 14% of the total votes polled, not just standing third but losing his security deposit as well.
This humiliating reversal for a party which had won 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi only two years ago is an indication os just how much popular ground Kejriwal has lost in such a short span of time. Delhi Lieutenant-Governor's order to recover Rs 97 crore from AAP (headed by Kejriwal) and pay that amount to Delhi government (headed by Kejriwal) for the violations of Supreme Court directive which the Kejriwal government made in issuing advertisements from the public exchequer damaged the chief minister.
The Shunglu Committee report indicting the Kejriwal government for nepotism, corruption and cronyism has already made Kejriwal's position precarious, both as a leader and as an administrator.
Simon Marandi of JMM leading from Litipara, Jharkhand: ANI
The BJP's hope that it would ride to victory on the crest of a Modi wave, helped by a favourable caste matrix, has crashed in the two assembly bypolls in Karnataka. It has lost Gundlupet and Nanjangud by big margins.
The defection of Srinivas Prasad, former minister and a noted Dalit in the region, from the Congress to the BJP was of little help to the party. Prasad lost Nanjangud by some 20,000 votes. The BJP leaders thought that state president BS Yeddyurappa's Lingayat community and the Dalits, which together form half the electorate in both places, would consolidate behind it. That calculation has misfired badly.
In both places, the BJP indulged in negative politics: It spoke little about development and instead harped on Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's non-performance, often indulging in cheap personality attacks. The voters taught the party a lesson. The defeats mean that the BJP needs to get its act together in Karnataka. At the same time, the two victories do not automatically translate into a win for the Congress in the next year's assembly elections, though it improves Siddaramaiah's stock within the Congress in the run-up to 2018.
Here's Final Rajouri Garden figures. AAP is BJP's 1/4th
The Trinamool Congress expectedly retained power in the Kathi Dakshin seat of east Midnapore Assembly constituency with its candidate Chandrima Bhattacharya romping home ahead of second-placed BJP candidate Sourindra Mohan Jana.
The real twist in the tale lay in the fact that Left and Congress have been almost wiped out in the state and Bengal has now become a two-horse race between ruling TMC and challenger BJP. The bypoll result merely confirmed the realigning of political forces in Bengal.
TMC wins from Bengal's Kanthi Dakshin seat
Congress demands recounting of votes in Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh: News18
Arvind Kejriwal evokes no anticipation
Man of the masses, anti-corruption crusader, the middle class’s beacon light of hope, revolutionary – there was a time when such epithets sat easy on Arvind Kejriwal. That was around four years ago.
Now, he is merely one of those boring and loud politicians of Delhi who are always around but hardly register on your mind or evoke any passion. Street corners are no more agog with discussion on him or his Aam Aadmi Party as people prepare to vote in 272 wards.
Arvind Kejriwal will remain an enigma forever. It's never wise to write someone off in politics, but his case raises several questions that beg answers.
One, why was he in politics in the first place? To be more specific, what did he seek to achieve in politics? To be an anarchist? That would still be fine if he aimed to achieve something for people or from a selfish perspective, for himself. If he wanted to offer an option in alternative politics, where is that? Does he have an ideology? If he has, why has it not been visible so far? How can a political leader be fighting everyone all the time instead of finding ways to take everyone together?
Delhi rejected AAP's tricks: BJP
"Delhi has rejected the politics of tricks played by the AAP," BJP leader Om Prakash Sinha told CNN-News18.
BJP wins from Bandhavgarh, Madhya Pradesh — ANI
TMC's change in strategy to counter BJP's rise
Social media had gone into a meltdown of sorts recently and a million eyebrows were raised when Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wished everyone on Hanuman Jayanti via Twitter last Monday, even ending her tweet with 'Jai Bajrangbali'.
The Trinamool Congress's sudden affinity towards Hanuman might have had something to with Lord Ram, who has of late became the touchstone of BJP's aggressive Hindutva push in the state. Mamata has always been a pragmatic politician. She dismantled the 24-year-old Left citadel and totally usurped its Muslim votebank in 2011.
Over the next five years, she consolidated her Muslim votes, who according to 2011 census reports form around 27 percent of Bengal's population. This was done in the belief that if minority votes are in the bank, the Trinamool Congress would become invincible in the state - a model assiduously followed by the Left. However, this assumption came under serious pressure after 2016 when she came back to power with a thumping majority.
The BJP, which had long been languishing in the state, took a sudden turn towards aggressive pro-Hindutva politics under new state president Dilip Ghosh, an RSS man. The party perhaps took its cue from right-wing organisations like Hindu Samhati which was rapidly gaining in strength, tapping into the deep resentment that some Bengali Hindus were developing towards Mamata for what they interpreted as her politics of 'Muslim appeasement'.
Ever the pragmatic politician, Mamata has perhaps understood that she can no longer stay in denial of BJP's rise and has therefore sought to counter its aggressive Hindutva politics in two ways.
One, use the state's law and order machinery to scuttle BJP's political consolidation and not allow it space. Two, develop a version of soft Hindutva to sway the Hindus who she reckons are cut up with her.
As of now, the bypoll result in Kanthi Dakshin Assembly constituency, where TMC has opened up a huge lead over second-placed BJP and is set to better its 2016 performance, shows that Mamata has got her strategy spot on.
BJP's Ranoj Pegu wins Assam's Dhemaji assembly bypoll by 9,285 votes — ANI
BJP wins Rajouri Garden Assembly bypoll by over 14,500 votes. Congress finishes second, AAP a distant third — PTI
Kejriwal's madness without method
What does the Rajouri loss say about the future of AAP? One, it has lost its connect with people; two, it's no more an alternative to biggies BJP and Congress; and three, it was a bad political experiment.
Are we jumping the gun here? No. Kejriwal's party gives no reason why it should survive. Despite repeated reminders that it is losing traction among masses, the party has shown no enthusiasm to correct its mistakes and make a course-correction.
Earlier, everyone thought Kejriwal's apparent madness in his political conduct had a method to it, and a purpose. Now, they have realised it's only madness, nothing else.
All you need to know about the Rajouri Garden seat
Rajouri Garden is part of West Delhi Lok Sabha constituency which has nine other Assembly segments — Madipur, Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Najafgarh, Janakpuri, Vikaspuri, Dwarka, Matiala and Uttam Nagar.
The current Rajouri Garden constituency came into existence in 2008, as part of the implementation of the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission of India constituted in 2002.
From 1993 to 2008, Rajouri Garden seat, which is a general seat had been a Congress bastion. Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken had been elected thrice as MLA from this seat. However, in the 2013 Assembly election, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa defeated Congress candidate A Dhanwati Chandela by 11,008 votes. But again in the 2015 election, Sirsa lost the seat to Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Jarnail Singh, who won by 10,036 votes.
SM Krishna, who recently quit Congress and joined BJP, hardly campaigned for the bypolls. BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa reacted to the result.
"They won the election and we must respect the people of both the constituencies," said BJP leader BS Yeddyurappa, as Congress won Gundlupet. "We still have our target of Mission 150."
With inputs from News18
Will Arvind Kejriwal again blame EVMs for AAP's loss?
The time-tested electronic voting machine, which gloriously stood firm and without blemish for close to four decades is now being questioned again by a group of politicians who have faced defeat.
Kejriwal was the first one to latch on to Mayawati's ill-found rationale that she did not lose because she had lost popular support and charishma or people lost faith in her and her own core voters didn't like her modern day Queen-like attitude to politics. She believed that she lost because the BJP had physically tampered EVMs in over one lakh polling booths in UP.
AAP chief realised that this could be the most easy answer to misguide his party cadre and those in public who still believed in him that he did not lose elections but EVM manipulations made him lose elections.
If the so-called EVM tampering by an invisible army of BJP workers — either through naked eyes of thousands of employees engaged by Election Commission, security personnel or by rival party candidates and workers or through CCTV cameras — had not taken place, he would have been ruling in Punjab and Goa, and also Gujarat by the end of the year.
Till Wednesday, he was unleashing high voltage charges against EVMs, against EC and against BJP. Today's result, where he is not only losing the bypoll but also the face, has given him yet another opportunity to lash out at the humble voting machine.
Rajouri result a bigger setback for Kejriwal
The setback for Arvind Kejriwal is bigger also because the AAP in Delhi and Congress in Himachal Pradesh are the only incumbents losing the current round of bypolls.
The trend in Indian politics is that voters generally favour candidates of the ruling party in a by-election, primarily to ensure they get the benefits of power. But, when the trend is reversed, it is usually a massive vote of no-confidence in the government of the day. With the AAP losing almost 35 percent votes in Rajouri Garden, it shows a massive erosion of faith in the government and Kejriwal.
Result does not augur well for AAP in MCD polls
The bypoll result does not augur well for the AAP. If it is any indication of public mood, then the party might perform equally miserably in the MCD elections too.
In Rajouri, a seat it held, it came a poor third with Congress coming second. This could repeat in the civic body polls. It would mean total rejection of the party and its leader Arvind Kejriwal by the people. Wasn't AAP the party of the masses, dedicated to revolution from grassroots? What a fall for both!
TMC still the party to beat in Bengal
The ruling Trinamool Congress has increased its lead over second-paced BJP by over 36,000 votes. After 11 rounds, TMC candidate Chandrima Bhattacharya has so far gargnered 69,633 votes ahead of her nearest competitor Sourindra Mohan Jana of BJP who has so far polled 33,926 votes.
Left representative Uttam Pradhan has collected a meagre 12,241 votes in the constituency that witnessed 82 percent polling on voting day. The trends are clear. TMC is comfortably ahead and has even increased its vote share compared to its margin in 2016, indicating that BJP has failed to eat into its voter base.
What has happened though is that BJP has been able to consolidate the anti-TMC votes. Voters who are opposed to the ruling party clearly see the saffron unit as the strongest of Opposition forces.
The trend also indicates that the demise of Left and Congress, the two dominant forces for nearly six decades, is complete. For all its sound and fury, the BJP though still has a long way to go before it can unseat Mamata Banerjee's party. Six rounds of counting are still left in this seat - Kathi Dakshin in east Midnapore district.
Meanwhile, in Kashmir...
J&K: Broadband internet services suspended in Kashmir again after the services were restored on Tuesday.
It's a reality check for Arvind Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party. A defeat in Rajouri Garden - the party has already accepted it, though the official announcement is yet to be made - means Kejriwal has managed to squander all public goodwill that ensured him a massive victory in assembly elections of 2015.
A respectable second seems a distant possibility now. Is the AAP chapter in Delhi's politics finally over? The government will last close to three more years but it will rule with no credibility left.
The importance of Dholpur for Vasundhara Raje
In Rajasthan's Dholpur, the BJP has raced ahead of the Congress after the first two rounds. But since polling in the constituency was heavy, it would be too early to predict the outcome.
Dholpur is the home turf of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The Congress had raised the stakes in the election, claiming that it would reflect the mood on the ground. Wary of the Congress campaign, Raje led her party's campaign in Dholpur.
A victory would be a breather for the chief minister, who is facing not just a recalcitrant Congress but also rivals from within the party. Since the BJP's victory in Uttar Pradesh, there have been rumours of Om Mathur — the Rajasthan leader in charge of BJP affairs in UP — turning into a rival power centre.
Winning Dholpur would be a big respite for her. For her rivals both within and outside the BJP, it would be a huge setback.
INC workers have done well to jump from 12% to 38% in just 2 years! AAP loses deposit
Keep the spirit alive-we'll be the dark horse in MCD!
After 9 rounds, trend is clear, BJP is now TMC's biggest competitor
After nine rounds of counting in the Kathi Dakshin constituency in West Bengal, one of the 10 Assembly constituencies across 8 states that went into by-elections, the ruling Trinamool Congress is comfortably ahead with 57,372 votes ahead of second-placed BJP which has garnered 28,288 votes so far.
Though there are 8 more rounds of counting still to go, it seems clear that TMC will retain the seat which fell vacant after TMC MLA Dibyendu Adhikari was elected to Lok Sabha from Tamluk in a bypoll last year.
The point of interest, however, is to note that BJP, which until very recently was a marginal third/fourth force in the state, is rapidly gaining in strength and has eclipsed the Left to become TMC's biggest competitor.
If the bypoll trend in any indicator, the TMC has kept its vote share intact while BJP has so far polled 30 percent of the popular votes, eroding the Left vote base which has now been relegated to third spot. Congress is in distant fourth, marginally ahead of NOTA.
Despite AAP facing potential defeat in Rajouri Garden, Arvind Kejriwal questions EC's open challenge to test EVMs
Has anyone actually seen any official statement from CEC? Am trying to get it since eve. Is this news correct? https://t.co/JfPCkvfvVZ
Arvind Kejriwal should realistically only blame himself for the massive defeat that is staring at hiM in Delhi's Rajouri Garden bypoll.
Call it his complacency or his arrogance that his name was enough to win election in any part of the country, not on the basis of the work done by him but on the basis of a series of boastful advertisements he used to give in print and broadcast in national and regional media of all hues.
He made his party AAP MLA Jarnail Singh resign from Rajouri Garden and move to Punjab to contest assembly election there from the prestigious Lambi seat against Akali Dal chief Prakash Singh Badal. That Jarnail forfeited his deposit in Lambi is a different matter.
The bypolls in Rajouri Garden were necessitated due to AAP MLA's resignation. The result of this bypoll is a huge personal setback to Kejriwal and an embarrassment to AAP. More so, it comes at a time when the summer heat and dust of 23 April Municipal Corporation of Delhi's election is getting to its peak. Early signs are ominous for Kejriwal.
Karnataka showing may be welcome news for party's final bastion
Congress is leading in Karnataka's Gundlupet constituency, after the sixth round of counting. But the difference between the Congress and BJP candidate is just about three percent votes. So this could go right down to the wire.
Gundlupet is a prestigious constituency for both parties. Both had upped the ante in the constituency, by asking their top leaders to campaign. Ahead of the polls, BJP had triggered the defection of former chief minister and Congress heavyweight SM Krishna, who had campaigned with his successor BS Yeddyurappa.
If Congress manages to hold on to the initial leads, it would come as a huge relief to a party that is trying to hold on to its final bastion in the south.
BJP supporters begin celebrations in Rajouri Garden
Supporters celebrate as BJP candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa continues to lead, by a margin of 5928 votes in Rajouri Garden bypoll #Delhipic.twitter.com/x2jASMPKwh
Early trends from Rajouri Garden suggest AAP's time is coming to an end
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is on its way to political oblivion. Early trends from bypolls in Delhi's Rajouri Garden constituency suggest that what began as a warning sign in Punjab now has a ring of finality to it — the Arvind Kejriwal episode in politics is over. Counting is still on in the constituency, and BJP is in the lead after the sixth round. Two more trends are easily discernible: The Congress is making a comeback of sorts and the AAP candidate may lose his deposit.
Though Congress is trailing in most of the constituencies where bypolls took place, the good news for the party is that it is winning two seats in the politically significant state of Karnataka.
In Nanjangud, Congress has opened up a healthy lead over the BJP. With a poll share of almost 60 percent after seven rounds, Congress seems to be home and dry. Nanjangud is part of Mysore, home turf of Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaih. The area has been a traditional Congress stronghold, but BJP had asked former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to lead the party's charge and strike a Lingayat-Dalit alliance.
However, this may not have happened, and Congress can still be sanguine about its chances in the next Assembly elections, due for 2018.
BJP now leading in both seats of Madhya Pradesh
Madhya Pradesh bypolls: BJP leading from both Ater and Bandhavgarh
Congress leading Gundlupet Assembly constituency in Karnataka
In Karnataka's Gundlupet constituency, Congress' Geeta Prasad is holding on to a narrow lead over BJP's Niranjan Kumar, with 49,766 votes to the latter's 45,116.
Hemant Katare, Congress candidate in Madhya Pradesh's Ater constituency has an even more slender lead, leading by just 45 votes. In Madhya Pradesh's Bandhavgarh constituency, however, the BJP has a lead by about 8,000 votes.
Congress had called Rajouri Garden bypoll a referendum on Arvind Kejriwal govt
Speaking to the media a few days earlier, Congress Delhi president Ajay Maken had said the Rajouri Garden bypolls will be a referendum on the Arvind Kejriwal-led state government, and expressed confidence his party will do better than AAP. His words may be proving prophetic, with early trends indicating that AAP is trailing both Congress and BJP.
Karnataka balm may soothe beleaguered Congress
Congress candidates aren't having much luck in the bypolls, but are leading in both constituencies in Karnataka: Geeta Prasad is leading in Gundlupet, while Kalale Keshavamurthy leads in Nanjangud.
BJP leading in Delhi, Assam, Himachal; Trinamool takes big lead in West Bengal
In Delhi's Rajouri Garden, Assam's Dhemaji and Bhoranj in Himachal Pradesh, it's BJP candidates who have taken early leads. TMC's Chandrima Bhattacharya is leading in West Bengal's Kanthi Dakshin constituency.
BJP's Manjinder Singh Sirsa leads in Delhi
BJP candidate is leading after the first round of polling in Delhi's Rajouri Garden, while Congress candidate Meenakshi Chandela and Aam Aadmi Party's follow in second and third respectively.
Madhya Pradesh: BJP, Congress leading one seat each
Madhya Pradesh bypolls -- BJP leading by nearly 4000 votes from Bandhavgarh; Congress leading from Ater
Results for by-elections held in 10 Assembly constituencies spread across eight different states will be announced on Thursday. The fate of key constituencies and candidates in states like Karnataka, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and the national capital of Delhi will be decided once results for these bypolls are out.
Representational image. AP
The constituencies that underwent polling on 9 April include Rajouri Garden (Delhi), Litipara (Jharkhand), Nanjangud and Gundlupet (Karnataka), Dholpur (Rajasthan), Kanthi Dakshin (West Bengal), Ater and Bandhavgarh (Madhya Pradesh), Bhoranj (Himachal Pradesh) and Dhemaji (Assam).
By-election to West Delhi's Rajouri Garden assembly seat is seen as the trailer to the upcoming municipal elections this month. The seat fell vacant after the Aam Adami Party's Jarnail Singh quit to contest the Punjab Assembly polls held earlier this year. The bypoll had seen meagre voter turnout, with Delhiites registering just 47 percent. In the 2015 Assembly elections, when the Aam Aadmi Party swept to power, the constituency had witnessed 72 percent voter turnout.
In Assam's Dhemaji constituency, BJP lawmaker Pradan Baruah had contested and won the Lok Sabha election from Lakhimpur constituency. Sarbananda Sonowal had vacated the seat upon becoming the chief minister, after winning from Majuli.
In Jharkhand's Litipara seat, considered a prestigious constituency, both for the ruling BJP and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Meanwhile, in Karnataka's Gundlupet, a record 80 percent of the electorate cast their franchise, while the Nanjangud constituency, there was 76 percent turnout was registered. Nanjangud in Mysuru will have by-elections after former Congress lawmaker Srinivasa Prasad resigned his seat to recontest on a BJP ticket.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the repolling ordered by the Election Commission in 38 polling stations of Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, where the bypoll on 9 April was marred by violence, began on Thursday amidst tight security arrangements.
The polling began at 7 am and will end at 4 pm. All these polling stations are located in central Kashmir's Budgam district, the worst-hit by violence during polling on Sunday.
Seven of the eight deaths in security forces firing during Sunday's polling took place in Budgam district, especially in the areas where the Election Commission ordered to hold a repoll.