Anti-incumbency against municipal councillors was one of the factors that led to the BJP’s defeat in Rajinder Nagar bypoll, along with supporters not coming out in big numbers, said senior leaders during a meeting in Nariana, after the results on Sunday, to introspect on the loss.
AAP’s Durgesh Pathak won the bypoll, beating BJP’s Rajesh Bhatia by a margin of 11,468 votes. Pathak polled 40,319 votes as opposed to Bhatia’s 28,851, while Congress’s Prem Lata was a distant third with 2,014 votes.
he BJP has two councillors in the assembly constituency, Chhail Bihari Goswami from Naraina and Sunita Kaushik from Inderpuri, along with Shiromani Akali Dal’s Paramjeet Singh Rana from Rajinder Nagar who contested in alliance with the party. “We saw during the campaign that there was anti-incumbency against our own councillors as well as AAP former MLA Raghav Chadha. However, it cost us more as there were other factors also which didn’t work in our favour,” said a senior leader present in the meeting.
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BJP MLA Ajay Mahvar, who was also the in-charge of the constituency, said the election basically came down to two slogans. “Our slogan ‘Sthaniya voter chunega sthaniya vidhayak (local voter will choose local MLA)’ initially worked. But later AAP’s slogan of ‘Kejriwal ki sarkar, Kejriwal ka vidhayak (Kejriwal’s government, Kejriwal’s MLA)’ worked for them.”
Another aspect that seems to have worked in AAP’s favour was trouble in the BJP unit. The BJP had many ticket seekers from the area and many of them did not participate in poll campaign, said a BJP leader. “This is a problem with every party but not like we have in Delhi. Here people do it openly, there is no fear,” the leader said.