Delhi civic bypolls: AAP, Congress beat BJP; Kejriwal eyes total victory in 2017
Buoyed by winning five seats in civic by-elections, the Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday said it is eyeing a win on all seats in the civic bodies' polls next year.
New Delhi: Buoyed by winning five seats in civic by-elections, the Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday said it is eyeing a win on all seats in the civic bodies' polls next year.
Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) national convenor Arvind Kejriwal said people had reaffirmed their faith in his party.
"MCD ruled by BJP-Cong. Outsider AAP wins max seats in by-election. Thnx Delhi for reaffirming faith. An MCD election mein sabhi seat jeetni h," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
By-elections to the 13 seats were held on 15 May and the results were declared by the state election commission on Tuesday. The elections were being seen as a semi-final to the civic polls next year.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a loss, retaining only three of 13 seats. The Congress improved its position by winning four seats. One Independent winner later announced he had joined the Congress.
AAP's Delhi unit convener Dilip Pandey said: "The credit for our success goes to our volunteers. I thank the people of Delhi for showing faith in us. This was our debut in the local body by-elections and we had a remarkable experience."
"It is a spectacular start for AAP. These by-elections are a launchpad for us and now our next target is to win all 272 seats in the MCD elections next year."
He said the AAP has the potential to keep BJP and the Congress seats to the minimum. Despite all-out efforts from big leaders of the BJP and the Congress, people reaffirmed their faith in AAP, Pandey said.
"Local body elections have different issues, which are more local. Such elections depend more on the person and his proximity. We were expecting a few more seats. AAP will assess the reasons why it could not reach its expectations,” the AAP leader added.
Of the 13 wards spread across Delhi, seven are under South Delhi Municipal Corporation, four under North Delhi Municipal Corporation and two under East Delhi Municipal Corporation. These seats fell vacant after their corporators resigned to contest the Delhi assembly polls in 2013 and 2014.
The three bodies originally made up the Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD), the city's biggest civic body.
The Congress, wiped out in last year's assembly polls, said the poor had begun to return to its fold.
"The traditional Congress voters including safai karmacharis, street vendors and slum dwellers have returned to the Congress fold," its leader Ajay Maken told the media.
"The minority vote has also shifted to the Congress," he said. The Congress bagged four seats despite the money, muscle and administrative power of the AAP and BJP, he added.
The results upset the BJP, which controls all three civic bodies. It retained only two of seven wards it won in 2012 while wresting one seat. It lost two seats each to Congress and AAP and one to an independent.
The AAP winners were Mohammed Sadiq (Ballimaran), Ashok Kumar (Vikas Nagar), Ramesh (Matiala), Anil Malik (Nanakpura) and Abhishek Bidhuri (Tehkhand).
Mahender Nagpal (Wazirpur), Bhupinder Mohan Bhandari (Shalimar Bagh) and Krishan Gehlot (Nawada) were the BJP victors.
The Congress winners were Ashok Bhardwaj (Qamaruddin Nagar), Yogita Rathee (Munirka), Anand Kumar (Khichripur) and Pankaj (Jhilmil).
Independent Rajender Singh Tanwar (Bhati) was a Congress rebel. He said after winning that he was rejoining the Congress.
Both the Congress and BJP said the results showed that the people of the capital were moving away from the AAP after voting for it overwhelmingly in the 2015 assembly elections.
AAP leader Somnath Bharti refuted the charge. "The fact is we contested municipal elections for the first time. Our senior leaders did not even campaign. If anything, this is a promising start for us in civic polls."
Elections to the 13 seats were held on May 15, with less than 50 per cent of the over six lakh voters exercising their franchise.
BJP leaders, however, pointed out that they had garnered the maximum 34.11 percent votes. The AAP came second at 29.93 percent and the Congress got 24.87 percent.
Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay said his party would analyse the results. "There were many reasons. The heat kept away our core voters. And many may have left Delhi due to school vacations."
The 13 wards - seven with SDMC, four with NDMC and two with EDMC - fell vacant after the corporators resigned to contest the Delhi assembly polls of 2013 and 2015.
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