New Delhi, Aug 28 (IANS) At a little beyond noon on Monday afternoon, the results of Bawana bypoll were not yet out, but drum beats were audible from the ruling AAP’s office at 206, Rouse Avenue as the party candidate had acquired an unassailable lead and celebrations had begun.
It was a much-needed victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after its humiliating loss in the municipal elections and bypoll to Rajouri Garden Assembly seat.
Inside the gates of the central Delhi office, about a dozen women were dancing to the rhythm of ‘dhol’ with their faces smeared with pink and red colour and intermittent shouts of ‘jhaadu’, AAP’s election symbol, echoed in the air.
In the middle was party spokesperson Richa Pandey, who also had signs of celebration: smudges of rose and red colour powder on her face and neck and sporting the AAP’s trademark ‘Gandhi cap’ with the party name on it.
Checking her phone, Pandey said that 24 out of the 28 rounds of counting were over and AAP was leading by around 22,000 votes.
“In the first couple of rounds, we were lagging, but we knew once counting starts in our strong holds we will come on top,” she said.
As she was pulled into the center of a group of women who were taking a selfie, the results of round 25 came — AAP was now leading by 23,000 votes.
In the courtyard of the party office, about 45 km from Bawana, people hugged and fed each other laddos and some were busy posting their photos in social media.
Rita Vashit, 64, dancing right next to the dhol had worked around one and half months for the bypoll campaigning.
“Our work paid off,” she said, noting that the women’s wing had worked hard in Bawana.
Her friend Vinita Rutra, breaking in, added: “This time VVPAT was introduced and we won. Conduct the municipal election again with VVPAT, we’ll win for sure.”
VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) is a manual slip generated when one casts his vote in an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), so that the candidate one voted for can be checked.
AAP has been claiming that the EVM machines were hacked and that’s why BJP was winning the elections.
Vinod, 53, the drummer, said that four more drummers were on their way and by this time the final results arrived: AAP’s Ram Chandra defeated his nearest rival, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ved Prakash by 24052 votes.
More shouts of triumph and dancing followed.
About two minutes walking distance from 206, Rouse Avenue, was the Congress party office, but there was no one apart from lone guard Sameer inside the gates.
“No worker came here since morning,” he added.
In a third floor room of the building, Chattar Singh, one of the party’s coordinators for Bawana, was upbeat despite Congress candidate Surender Kumar finishing third behind AAP and BJP.
“We have improved our vote per cent from 7.8 per cent in 2015 to 25 per cent and it’a success for us. Look at AAP’s and BJP’s vote share, it has come down,” Singh said.
Showing his phone, another staffer told Singh: “(Delhi unit chief Ajay) Maken sir has also tweeted about the increase in vote share.”
About five km away, the BJP office, 14, Pant Road, was no different from the Congress’, except for the life-sized hoardings of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah.
At 2.30 p.m., the office was deserted and the security guard said workers didn’t turn up though it was the result day.
“We can’t understand what happened. We’ll have to go through booth level votes to know what really went wrong,” party spokesman Ashwini Upadhyay said in the media room surrounded by half a dozen people.
Jeevach, who runs the party office canteen, said that hardly anyone had come to the office.
“Business has been very dull. Look around sir, do you find anyone?” the youth asked.
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