BJP registered a resounding victory in the bye-election to Rajouri Garden Assembly seat in Delhi today, defeating its nearest rival Congress by a margin of about 15,000 votes. In a severe jolt to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) finished a poor third, forfeiting its deposit.
The results come as a huge boost for the BJP mere ten days ahead of the upcoming Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections. Conversely, it proves a severe dampener for AAP which is still struggling to get over the humiliating defeats in the recently held Punjab and Goa Assembly elections.
The Rajouri Garden bye-election result indicates that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's wave blows not just in adjoining Uttar Pradesh, where BJP registered a historic victory by winning more than three-fourths of the seats in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, but also in the national capital.
The Rajouri Garden bypoll result apparently is also a pointer towards the voters' disenchantment with Arvind Kejriwal's brand of politics and AAP's performance of the lack of it in the national capital.
The BJP would hope that these two factors would help it maintain its momentum of victory even in the MCD elections. On the other hand, AAP would desperately want to reverse the trend and arrest the spate of defeats.
BJP's enormity of victory in the Rajouri Garden bypoll can be gauged from the number and percentage of votes polled by it. Its candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa polled 40,602 thousand of the total 1.68 lakh votes, thus bagging 52 per cent votes.
BJP polled more votes than Congress and AAP put together. While Meenakshi Chandela of Congress polled 25,950 (33 per cent) votes, Harjeet Singh of AAP bagged just 10,243 (13 per cent) votes.
In the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, Jarnail Singhof AAP had polled 54,916 (46.55 per cent) of the the total 1.63 lakh electors. Shiromani Akali Dal's Manjinder Singh Sirsa had bagged 44,880 votes (38.04 per cent) while Congress' Meenakshi Chandela had got 14,167 votes (12.01 per cent).
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been blaming the EVMs for AAP's defeat, particularly in Punjab Assembly elections. He has gone to the extent of alleging that EVMs were rigged and tampered with. He had demanded reverting to voting by ballot paper in the MCD elections.
Kejriwal has also alleged that the software of the EVMs was bugged. He has challenged the Election Commission to hand over EVMs to his party for 72 hours. He has claimed that they would prove that the software of the EVMs can be over-written.
However, the Election Commission has maintained that the EVMs are foolproof and is likely to invite the political parties to try and hack them.
While BJP would canvass for votes in the forthcoming MCD elections on the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, AAP would likely to harp on the controversy surrounding the EVMs. AAP already has an alibi ready in case it loses the municipal elections.