Summer of Lotus Blooms in Delhi
By Sumit Kumar Singh
Published: 18th May 2014 09:07:43 AM
NEW DELHI: In what is being seen as a rerun of its Assembly poll performance, the BJP has registered a spectacular win bagging all seven seats in the national capital. The party has also won all the four seats that surround Delhi. A performance of this magnitude is set to revive the BJP’s demand for an early election in the city, for the party leadership may look to use its current popularity and Modi magic to woo voters in the Assembly polls. BJP had done well in the Assembly polls emerging as the largest party and the Modi wave only gave it a boost which translated into the victory in all the 11 seats of the NCR. Surprisingly, all candidates—mostly first-timers to parliamentary polls—won with a margin of more than one lakh votes. While credible faces like General V K Singh from Ghaziabad helped the mandate, fresh faces added to the win. Runner-up AAP in the capital also fielded the fresh faces but party chief Arvind Kejriwal taking on Modi was seen as frivolous and his ‘bhagora’ image boomeranged.
The saffron surge demolished the Congress lineup of bigwigs in the capital and pushed the newbie AAP to second on all seats. This performance vindicates the BJP’s choice of Harsh Vardhan, the party state chief, as the city’s most popular leader. Vardhan, who won the Muslim-dominated Chandni Chowk seat, also mentored all other six candidates—Meenakshi Lekhi, Manoj Tiwari, Maheish Girri, Ramesh Bidhuri, Udit Raj and Pravesh Verma. The day names of the candidates were announced, Vardhan made it a point to work in cohesion. Vardhan defeated his nearest rival AAP’s Ashutosh by 1,36,320 votes and Congress’ Kapil Sibal by 2,61,732 votes.
For the AAP, it was a debacle. The 18-month-old party, which was banking on Delhi, got bowled out on their home turf. Party leaders accepted that Kejriwal resigning from the CM’s post was a blunder. “Kejriwal’s decision to step down as CM has dented our prospects in Delhi,” said AAP leader Yogendra Yadav.
The party was expecting to win at least two seats—East Delhi and Northwest Delhi—but Kejriwal shifting his base to Varanasi to take on Modi dented their chance of win. Though the AAP improved its Assembly poll vote share, from 30 per cent to 33 percent, their voters, the middle-class, shifted from them and voted for BJP. The party, however, played its minority card and got Muslim votes in large numbers. The Congress was wiped out in all the seven seats. The party’s vote share was reduced to 15.1 per cent with heavyweights like J P Agarwal, Krishna Tirath, Mahabal Mishra and Ramesh Kumar forfeiting their deposits. Party general secretary Shakeel Ahmed said, “We accept the people’s verdict and we know they are unhappy with us for now.”
Their campaign began on a sordid note as there was lack of coordination among the contestants. It seemed like they were not in fight barring Sandeep Dikshit who aggressively fought a lone battle. In East Delhi, BJP’s Girri, who was working there for the last one-and-a-half years, crushed AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi and Dikshit. The victory margin was 1.90 lakh votes. In New Delhi, Lekhi finished on the victory lap winning the seat with a margin of 1.62 lakh votes pushing a shocked Ajay Maken to the third position.
Udit Raj from Northwest Delhi defeated his nearest rival Rakhi Birla of the AAP by a margin of 1.06 lakh votes. Dalit leader Raj was considered as the BJP’s weakest candidate but he came out with flying colours.
BJP’s West Delhi candidate Pravesh Verma won the seat with the biggest margin of 2.68 lakh defeating Jarnail Singh of AAP. The son of former Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma enjoyed the support of locals and carried his father’s legacy in those areas.
The South Delhi seat was wrested by Ramesh Bidhuri, who defeated AAP’s Devinder Sehrawat by 1.07 lakh votes. Similarly, in Northeast Delhi, Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari defeated AAP’s Anand Kumar by 1.44 lakh votes. Tiwari from day one had been singing and seeking vote for Modi. In Gurgaon, BJP’s Rao Inderjit Singh, a four-time Congress MP, won the seat by a margin of around two lakh votes by defeating Zakir Hussain of the Congress. AAP’s Yogendra Yadav finished fourth.
Former Army chief General V K Singh of the BJP defeated Congress’ Raj Babbar in Ghaziabad by a margin of 5.66 lakh votes which is the second highest in the country. Interestingly, Shazia Ilmi, a prominent face of AAP, secured fifth position. In Faridabad, BJP candidate Krishanpal Gurjar won the seat by a margin of 3,94,547 votes. He defeated sitting MP and Congress nominee Avtar Singh Bhada. Sitting BJP MLA Mahesh Sharma won Gautambudh Nagar seat with a margin of more than 2.75 lakh votes. He snatched the seat from Bahujan Samaj Party’s Satish Awana.
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