New Delhi: The AAP on Thursday suffered a major blow when it lost the Rajouri Garden Assembly seat to the BJP, forfeited its deposit, and finished third behind the Congress, which showed signs of clawing back on its erstwhile turf.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who contested the poll on the BJP ticket, bagged 40,602 votes, over 50 per cent of the total vote count, in what turned out to be a two-cornered fight, with the Congress’ Meenakshi Chandela finishing second with 25,950 votes.
AAP’s fresh face Harjeet Singh not only finished a distant third with just 10,243 votes but also lost his security deposit as he received less than one-sixth of the total votes polled in the west Delhi constituency dominated by Punjabi and Sikh voters.
The victory came as a boost for the BJP, which is hoping to retain power in the three municipal corporations.
The result also indicated a shift in Delhi’s political dynamics, which had witnessed a radical churn in 2015 when AAP had romped home with a staggering 67 seats in the 70-member Assembly.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia attributed the defeat to the anger of people over its sitting legislator Jarnail Singh quitting the seat to contest the Punjab polls, which necessitated the by-election.