MCD bypolls: Rude shock to BJP; Cong, AAP vow to wipe it out in 2022 polls

New Delhi: The municipal corporation bypoll results on Wednesday came as a rude shock to the BJP which drew a blank, with its rivals AAP and Congress asserting that they would wipe it out in the civic body polls in 2022.

The AAP swept the bypolls winning four out of the five wards where elections were held on February 28. However, Congress snatched the Chauhan Bangar ward from the AAP by a huge margin of over 10,000 votes.

Encouraged by the results, AAP leaders claimed they would win the “final” in 2022 after a victory in the “semi-final” bypolls.

“The AAP has won the semi-final decisively, with roughly one year to go for MCD finals in 2022. It is time for Delhiites to put an end to the 15-year corruption-plagued rule of the BJP in MCDs,” said senior AAP leader Raghav Chadha.

However, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said the bypolls should not be seen as a “semi-final” to the 2022 municipal corporation elections. It has a “limited scope”, he said.

As per the State Election Commission figures, the AAP polled the highest 46.10 per cent votes in the bypolls, followed by 27.29 per cent by the BJP and 21.84 per cent by the Congress.

The BJP also lost its stronghold, Shalimar Bagh North, to the AAP. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Renu Jaju.

Delhi Congress president Anil Kumar asserted that party candidate Chaudhary Zubair Ahmad’s victory by over 10,000 votes in Chauhan Bangar showed that the confidence of people in the party was rising and it was on the path of revival in Delhi.

He asserted the party would win in the MCD polls.

The party, however, failed to leave any influence on the four other wards where its candidates trailed behind the BJP, on the third spot, indicating it has to cover a lot of lost ground.

Nevertheless, Kumar claimed the Congress increased its vote share from 6 per cent in 2020 Assembly polls to 22 per cent in the bypolls, while that of the BJP and the AAP registered a decline.

The loss registered by the AAP in minority-dominated Chauhan Bangar ward was seen by many in the context of North East Delhi riots in February, 2020 and the cases registered during the coronavirus pandemic against Tablighi Jamat members. 

The AAP leaders, however, termed the loss of party candidate and former MLA Mohammad Ishraq Khan as an outcome of “local factors” and the influence of the Congress candidate’s father, Mateen Ahmad, in the area.

Delhi BJP president said that the loss of the party in Shalimar Bagh was a matter of deliberation and asserted that it will contest 2022 MCD polls after making amends and adopting a new strategy.

A senior Delhi BJP leader said although the bypoll results were “upsetting” but they had no meaning with reference to the upcoming MCD polls.

“In 2016 MCD bypolls, we won only three seats, while the AAP and the Congress won five seats each out of the total 13. Yet we managed to stage a comeback and won the civic body polls in 2017 with a clear majority in the three municipal corporations,” he said.

The BJP is ruling the municipal corporations since 2007. In 2017 MCD polls, the party won 184 of the total 272 wards in three municipal corporations.

AAP convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, said that the bypoll results were a sign of the 2022 MCD poll outcome.

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