MCD by-polls: Some ground to Cong, entry for AAP

Rajat Kain

Arvind-Kejriwal,-Chief-Minister-of-DelhiRarely do civic body polls generate an interest to draw a bigger picture and more so mere by-polls on marginal number of seats. But by-polls on 13 wards were dubbed as a window to the larger view of election on the 270-ward trifurcated civic body of Delhi exactly an year from now. The results of these by-polls were keenly watched after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal had exuberated confidence that his AAP will sweep all 13 seats.

Alas! The results were a set-back of sort for AAP as it fell 8 seats short.

The triangular contest saw AAP winning 5 seats, BJP just 3 and Congress, from nowhere, emerging winner on 4 seats. Of all the seats went on polls BJP held 7 and rest were with the independents.

Certain quarters saw these polls as a teaser to 2017 polls on Delhi MCD trifurcated as East, North and South. There were also murmurs of this one to be a referendum on the ruling AAP, however, there was no official claims but just a rhetoric oft heard in the campaigning.

Highlighting what they termed as “rotten” state of affairs in the civic bodies, the AAP had claimed of replicating its almost unreal performance of 2015 Assembly polls, where they had won 67 out of 70 seats.

FILE: File photo of senior BJP leaders Vijay Goel, Dr. Harshvardhan and its Delhi wing chief Satish Upadhyaya. Photo - PTI

FILE: File photo of senior BJP leaders Vijay Goel, Dr. Harshvardhan and its Delhi wing chief Satish Upadhyaya.
Photo – PTI

The prelude to polls was fight between AAP, ruling Delhi and BJP, ruling Centre and the Delhi MCD. The two had fought on almost everything, starting from full statehood to Delhi demanded by the former, heat over sanitation workers salaries, funds for the civic bodies and off course the huge garbage mess that had seen the two locking horns over who will do the clean-up.

In between all this, once powerful Congress party was relegated to a non-player, especially after it drew blank in 2015 Assembly polls.

The grand-old party which ruled Delhi for three successive terms looked pale even under its own shadow as it struggled with leadership, party organisation and communication strategy. The by-poll results have now given Congress some ground to emerge back as a player in Delhi politics.

Incidentally, off the three parties, only Congress was seen celebrating the most as results trickled in and confirmed the party has four seats where it had none.

AAP, on the other hand, was out fielding queries from the press pack over its performance which was quickly termed under-par. It, however, didn’t stop Arvind Kejriwal from once again sounding out confidence of winning “all” seats in 2017 MCD polls.

“MCD ruled by BJP-Cong. Outsider AAP wins max seats in byelection. Thnx Delhi for reaffirming faith. Ab MCD election mein sabhi seat jeetni h (sic),” tweeted Arvind Kejriwal.

Lastly, it was the BJP which ceded its ground to Congress and AAP returning with just 3 seats. The party had held 7 seats prior to the by-polls, which were necessitated after the vacancies due to sitting councillors contesting the 2015 Assembly polls.

For the fact, BJP still rules all the three municipal bodies and it has been in power there since May 2007 (prior to its trifurcation).