Battle for Bawana: Counting of votes underway

Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party managed to retain Delhi’s Bawana constituency

Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar was declared the victor from Panaji with a margin of 4,803 votes.

Counting began on Monday morning for the bye-polls held in four Assembly constituencies of Goa, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh on August 23.

The BJP won both Goa bypolls, in the Panaji and Valpoi constituencies.

In AP's Nandyal, TDP's Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy is leading by over 2,800 votes, and in Delhi's Bawana, AAP's Ram Chandra overtook the Congress which was leading earlier.

The fourth by-poll - for the Nandyal seat in Andhra Pradesh - nearly as keenly contested as the Bawana seat albeit with different players - was wrested by the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) of chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, drawing the curtains on a shrill election campaign that saw him and his principal rival - YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy trade sharp exchanges. Rane Jr (as he is known in media circles here) won the seat with a margin of over 10,000 votes, leaving his Congress opponent, Roy Naik, trailing far behind.

Not only this, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won the seat with a huge margin of 24,00 votes. Reddy had won the seat in 2014 as YSR Congress candidate, but jumped over to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 2016. Congress initially sprinted with the lead but AAP caught up before establishing an unassailable lead while BJP at one point seemed to be settling atthird position.

Mr. Parrikar said, "All methods were tried - legal, media, social media and scurrilous publicity". Congress fielded three-time MLA from Bawana Surender Kumar. The Panaji bypoll was necessitated after the BJP's sitting MLA Siddharth Kuncolienkar vacated the seat for Parrikar, as the latter has to get elected to the Assembly within six months of becoming the Chief Minister.

He resigned from Assembly membership and AAP, before joining BJP in March this year, necessitating the bypoll. All three parties have exuded confidence about winning the Assembly seat. He subsequently joined the BJP and the cabinet as Health Minister. Parrikar, who returned to state politics in March this year after a stint as the defence minister, defeated his Congress rival Girish Chodankar, considered close to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, by 4803 votes.

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