Battle for Bawana: Polling gets underway in Delhi’s crucial by-poll


Voting began this morning for the Bawana Assembly constituency by-election in Delhi, in which the BJP, the AAP and the Congress are locked in a triangular contest.

Over 2.94 lakh electors are eligible to exercise their franchise in the bypoll in which EVMs equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) are being used at all polling stations.

The voting began at 8 am, officials said. The Assembly seat that falls in the north-west Delhi area is reserved for the SC category.

Eight candidates are in the fray in the election that is being carried out through 379 polling stations. The counting will take place on August 28. All three major parties are eyeing a victory in the bypoll, being seen as the barometer of their political influence.

Though the AAP enjoys an overwhelming majority in the Assembly with 65 MLAs, a victory in the bypoll would be a shot in the arm for the party after successive setbacks in the civic polls, the Rajouri Garden Assembly by-election and the Punjab and Goa polls. The AAP has fielded Ram Chander from the constituency

The BJP, which has just four members in the 70-member House, hopes to maintain its winning streak in the national capital where it is working hard to make a comeback.

The other major contender is of the Congress, which is trying hard to open its account after being relegated to zero seat in the legislative Assembly. It has fielded its former three-time MLA from Bawana, Surender Kumar.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues and top AAP leaders campaigned hectically in the constituency.

The BJP has fielded Ved Prakash, who won from Bawana in 2015 Assembly elections on an AAP ticket. He had resigned from the MLA post and quit the AAP to join the BJP in March this year.

The number of male, female and third gender electors are 1,64,114; 1,30,143; and 25, respectively. The average number of voters per polling station stands at 776.

Out of 379 polling stations in the constituency, 311 have less than 1,000 registered electors, while 68 have more than 1,000 registered electors, it said.

The overall polling percentage for Delhi in Assembly elections in 2013 and 2015, was 65.63 per cent and 67.12 per cent respectively. The corresponding polling percentage in Bawana constituency had stood at 61.14 and 61.83 per cent respectively.