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The BJP’s defeat in the Rajinder Nagar bypoll was attributed to anti-incumbency against municipal councillors and a lack of strong supporter turnout, according to senior leaders who met in Naraina after the results were announced on Sunday. AAP’s Durgesh Pathak won the bypoll, defeating Rajesh Bhatia by 11,468 votes. Pathak received 40,319 votes compared to Bhatia’s 28,851, while Congress’s Prem Lata came in a distant third with 2,014 votes.

The 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 ran in alliance with the party. A senior leader at the meeting stated, “We observed anti-incumbency against our own councillors as well as AAP former MLA Raghav Chadha during the campaign. However, there were other factors that also contributed to our loss.”

BJP MLA Ajay Mahvar, who was in charge of the constituency, noted that the election essentially boiled 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 factor that appeared to benefit AAP was internal trouble within the BJP unit. A BJP leader mentioned, “The BJP had many ticket seekers from the area, and many of them did not participate in the poll campaign. This is a problem with every party, but it’s particularly pronounced here. People do it openly, without fear.”

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