BJP has edge in most city seats - Asian Age
Muslims, who form about 14 per cent of the city’s electorate, play a critical role in North-East, East and Chandni Chowk constituencies. There are about 27 per cent Muslims in North-East, 20 per cent in East and 15 per cent in Chandni Chowk. The community had voted in large numbers for the Congress in the Assembly elections.
Even then, the Congress could manage to win only eight of the 70 seats in the Assembly elections. With the AAP emerging as an alternative to the Congress, a section of the Muslim voters is likely to go with the newbie in the LS elections. “If a good chunk of Muslim votes go to the AAP, there are indications that the BJP will have an edge over its rivals in the Muslim-dominated constituencies,” a political observer told this newspaper.
The city will witness a keen contest in Chandni Chowk where Congress candidate and Union minister Kapil Sibal is battling Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan, who was also the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the December elections. The congested constituency has a large population of traders and baniyas, who had been conventionally BJP voters. But this time, with the AAP fielding a baniya candidate, Ashutosh, the fight has become tough for the BJP, which is hoping to ride high on the Modi wave. On the other hand, Congress’ conventional voters — minorities and the lower middle class — seem to be getting split between them and the AAP.
The prestigious New Delhi seat will also witness a triangular contest among Congress general secretary Ajay Maken, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi and AAP’s Ashish Khetan. Mr Maken faces a tough task as his party had lost all the 10 Assembly seats in the constituency. The AAP had won seven Assembly seats in New Delhi. “It is not going to be a cakewalk for Mr Maken. If the Modi factor works in Delhi, Ms Lekhi can easily make it,” said a shopkeeper, who had voted for the AAP in the Assembly poll.
There will be a tough fight between Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit and BJP candidate Maheish Girri in East Delhi. If spin doctors are to be believed, even AAP candidate Rajmohan Gandhi can emerge as a dark horse. “There are 22 per cent Muslims, 18 per cent SC/ST and 10 per cent OBCs in East Delhi. If a large chunk of this votebank backs the AAP, it is bound to tilt the balance in favour of Mr Gandhi,” explained a Muslim teacher. “Muslims could not believe that the AAP could emerge as a major force in Delhi. That’s why our community voted for the Congress.”
From West Delhi, young BJP Jat leader Parvesh Varma has reportedly emerged as a strong contender against Congress MP Mahabal Mishra. Perceived as a leader of the Poorvanchalis, Mr Mishra has been facing a stiff resistance in the 70 of the 90 Jat-dominated villages. The sitting MP also faces a tough fight from AAP candidate Jarnail Singh. What has worked to the advantage of the AAP candidate is that the constituency has as many as 9.23 per cent Sikh voters. There are also 13.3 per cent Punjabis in the seat.
The South Delhi seat is likely to witness a direct contest between Congress MP Ramesh Kumar and BJP’s Ramesh Bhiduri. But the reserved North-West seat is likely to witness a triangular contest among Union minister and Congress MP Krishna Tirath, BJP’s Udit Raj and AAP’s Rakhi Birla. “Rakhi had defeated Congress minister Rajkumar Chauhan from Mangolpuri by a margin of over 10,000 votes in the Assembly polls. She is going to eat into the votebank of the Congress. That would automatically give the BJP an edge in this seat,” a political observer said.
Even the North-East constituency is likely to witness a triangular contest among Congress MP J.P. Aggarwal, Bhojpuri actor and BJP candidate Manoj Tiwari and AAP’s Anand Kumar. “The Bhojpuri actor has become a strong contender only because the Muslims and slumdwellers are going to vote for the AAP,” a Delhi University student said. more
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