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Delhi Civic Bypoll Results Today: Litmus Test for AAP Amid Raging Farm Protests

Representative image.

Representative image.

This is the first electoral exercise being conducted in Delhi amid the pandemic. The bypoll results are likely to have an impact on the big-ticket 2022 civic polls.

Results for the municipal corporation by-election in Delhi will be declared on Wednesday. Bypolls were held in five wards on Sunday. Of these, four wards were with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). After voting ended, besides AAP, the other contenders — BJP and Congress — asserted victory.

The elections were held in the backdrop of the raging months-long farmers protests that are being held along the borders of the national capital against the three central agri-sector laws. This is also the first electoral exercise being conducted in the national capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 50 per cent voters had cast their votes with the highest voting percentage recorded in Kalyanpuri and the lowest in Shalimar Bagh North, election officials said. None of the COVID-19 infected voters, 10 in Shalimar Bagh North and two in Kalyanpuri, turned up to cast their votes, they said.

As per official figures, 59.19 per cent votes were cast in Kalyanpuri, 55.95 per cent in Trilokpuri, 55.60 per cent in Chauhan Bangar, 44.58 per cent in Rohini-C, and 43.23 per cent in Shalimar Bagh North wards. Total voting percentage in the five wards was 50.86 per cent.

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Senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said he visited various polling booths in the wards and was confident of the party winning all five seats. Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta reflected similar sentiment, asserting that people rejected the Kejriwal model and voted for the BJP.

The Delhi Congress in a statement said that it expected favourable results in view of support witnessed for the party in the wards. The Congress filed a complaint with the Delhi Chief Electoral officer accusing AAP volunteers of seeking votes for party candidates at the time of voting.

Pathak rejected the charge as “baseless”. Officials said two sets of EVMs each in Chauhan Banger and Kalyanpuri were replaced during voting.

The results of these bypolls are likely to have an impact on the big-ticket 2022 Delhi civic polls. There are 327 polling stations and 26 candidates in the fray.

In Kalyanpui ward in east Delhi, two of the seven polling locations are in “critical” category. A total of 16 polling locations out of the total 44 have been kept in this category, as per official data. According to the State Election Commission, around 2.42 lakh people are eligible to cast their votes in two wards under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and three wards under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC).

Thermal guns were used to measure temperature of all voters, and masks and sanitiser bottles provided at polling stations, another official said. The main candidates in the Kalyanpuri ward bye-elections are Dhirendra from the AAP, Siyaram Kanojia from the BJP and Dharampal Maurya from the Congress.

Vijay Kumar from the AAP, Om Prakash Gugarwal from the BJP and Bal Kishan from the Congress are contesting from Trilokpuri ward. In Chauhan Banger, former AAP MLA Haji Ishraq Khan is pitted against Congress’ Chaudhary Zubair Ahmad and BJP’s Nazir Ansari.

These three wards are under the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. The AAP held these wards. The bypolls were necessitated after sitting councillors contested the assembly polls last year and became MLAs. In Shalimar Bagh North ward, which fell vacant after the death of the BJP councillor, the contest is between the saffron party’s Surbhi Jaju, AAP’s Sunita Mishra and Congress’ Mamata.

The BJP had retained all three corporations in the 2017 civic polls with the AAP finishing a distant second. While the BJP had swept the polls by winning 181 seats, AAP had won 48 and Congress was on third spot in the tally with 30 seats in its kitty. In May 2016, bypolls were held for 13 municipal wards, with the AAP picking up five seats, followed by the Congress with four and the BJP with three seats, one ward picked up by an independent candidate.