NEW DELHI: Bawana by-election result, which will be declared on Monday, will be a ground check of the popularity of the political parties before the 2019 general elections. All three candidates—Ved Prakash (BJP), Ram Chandra (AAP) and Surendra Kumar (Congress)—did a high-voltage campaign because the election was a prestige battle for all the parties.
The elections for the post were necessitated after AAP MLA Ved Prakash joined BJP in March. For the anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal’s party, which is in power only in Delhi, a loss will put the AAP in a critical spot among its supporters.
If the BJP wins, it will boost the chances for Delhi state president Manoj Tiwari for chief ministerial candidate in the next state assembly elections in 2020 as Bawana would be a third win in a row under his leadership.
AAP’s loss, on the other hand, will give the estranged members like Kapil Mishra a chance to tarnish Kejriwal’s image. In civic body elections, the AAP had alleged loss due to tampering with the EVM machines. But this time, they won’t be able to raise doubt as Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines were used at all 379 polling stations.
BJP national vice-president Shyam Jaju camped in the constituency a week before the voting day, and Tiwari visited many slum clusters and had lunch at a few to boost party’s chances.
Meanwhile, if result is in BJP’s favour, their count will go to five legislative members in the Delhi assembly. The constituency witnessed only 45% voter turnout. Though the BJP sounds confident of a victory, the Kejriwal-led party is fighting allegations of creating communal tension in order to win over the minority Muslim votes.