Wins majority in North, East Corporations; falls short of majority in South
Fighting both anti-incumbency and infighting, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday emerged triumphant in the elections to the newly trifurcated Municipal Corporation of Delhi, winning a majority of seats in the North and East Corporations. It also emerged the leader in the South Corporation, bagging 44 of the 104 wards, but fell short of the majority mark.
In all, the BJP, which had won 164 seats in the 2007 MCD elections, bagged 138 of the 272 wards for which elections were held on Sunday. The Congress came a distant second with 77 seats — a slight improvement over the 67 it got in 2007 — of which it got 29 each in South and North and 19 in the East Corporation.
The Bahujan Samaj Party, which had secured 17 seats in 2007, showed that it still retains control over its traditional vote bank, winning 15 wards — seven in North, five in South and three in East.
While independents bagged 24 wards, the Nationalist Congress Party got six seats, the Rashtriya Lok Dal five, the Indian National Lok Dal three, the Samajwadi Party two and the Janata Dal (United) and the Lok Jan Shakti Party one each.
Soon after it became clear that the BJP had emerged winner, its Delhi unit president Vijender Gupta said it was a vote against the Sheila Dikshit government and that it had lost the moral right to continue in power. He said the BJP had centred its campaign around price rise and corruption by the Congress governments at the Centre and in Delhi.
For her part, Ms. Dikshit is learnt to have called up and congratulated Mr. Gupta on the BJP's victory and assured it the support of her government in efficiently running the newly formed corporations.
Among the prominent BJP winners are the outgoing Mayor Rajini Abbi, Leader of MCD House Subhash Arya, Standing Committee chairman Yogendra Chandolia, and Mr. Vijender Gupta's wife, Shobha Vijender. The former Mayor, Farhad Suri, and the former Deputy Mayor, Ramesh Dutta of the Congress also emerged victorious. The other winners included cricketer Virender Sehwag's sister Anju Sehwag of the Congress and Madhav Prasad Jatav, the BJP candidate from Sangam Park, who was recently arrested for the murder of a party worker.
Among the main losers are Leader of the Opposition in MCD Jai Kishen Sharma of the Congress, who was defeated by the alleged gangster-turned-politician Krishan Pehelwan of the INLD from Najafgarh; and the Delhi serial blast accused Zia-ur-Rehman, who contested as independent from Zakir Nagar.
Among a number of rebels in the fray, the former Congress councillors, Usha Gupta (from Sagarpur West) and Bansi Lal (Geeta Colony) won.
The BJP suffered much more than others due to rebellion within its ranks. About 10 of its councillors and party leaders won as independents or candidates of other smaller parties. Among them are Praveen Rajput from Sagarpur, Kishen Sehrawat from Mahipalpur, Poonam Bharadwaj from Raj Nagar, Seema Pandit from Palam, Pramod Tanwar from Naraina, Surender Solanki from Vijay Vihar, Suresh Garg from Tri Nagar and Chander Prakash from Govindpuri. Apart from these, the party lost about 10 seats including Lajpat Nagar, Kotla, Andrews Ganj and Munirka with rebels pulling down the party nominees.