Sandeep Joshi

Many smaller parties open their account

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday secured a clear majority in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections bagging 164 of the 272 municipal wards in the newly delimitated civic body. According to political observers, apart from the anti-incumbency factor, issues like demolition and sealing, power shortage and fast-running meters, corruption in the civic body and inflation proved to be the Congress' nemesis as it managed to win just 67 seats.

Apart from the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj Party also performed well as it managed to take its tally of Councillors from one to 17, while independents bagged 15 seats. However, the Bharatiya Jan Shakti of former Delhi Chief Minister Madan Lal Khurana who had campaigned hard for his candidates after breaking away from the BJP managed to secure just two seats. For the MCD elections, Mr. Khurana had tied up with Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala's Indian National Lok Dal.

Similarly, two candidates of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also emerged victorious. The NCP along with four other political parties including the Left parties had forged an alliance -- Pragatisheel Jan Mocrha -- to contest the MCD elections. Another two seats were won by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, thanks to the Vishnu Garden MLA Dayanand Chandila whose son and daughter-in-law emerged victorious from Vishnu Garden and Khyala wards.

Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party also managed to open its account in the MCD elections bagging three seats including two from the Old Delhi areas of Turkman Gate and Jama Masjid.

For many of the BJP candidates the elections proved to be a cakewalk as they won by handsome margins. They included Leader of Opposition in the MCD House Subhash Arya, MCD Standing Committee Member Vijender Gupta, sitting Councillor Arti Mehra and former MCD Standing Committee chairman Prithviraj Sahni.

Many senior Congress Councillors lost their seats. They included Ramesh Dutta, Tarsem Bansal, Jagdish Pradhan and Brij Mohan Sharma, while those who retained their seats included Mayor Farhad Suri, former Mayors Satbir Singh and Jaishree Panwar, Standing Committee Chairman J. K. Sharma and its former head Mukesh Goel.

Interestingly, the BJP performed well even in the Old Delhi areas managing to win four seats in the area including Chandni Chowk, Ballimaran and Ramnagar, while in Qasabpura, Mohammed Imran won to become the BJP's lone Muslim Councillor.

The BJP's Vijender Gupta won with the highest margin of over 9,000 votes. Mr. Gupta also managed to secure victory for the other two BJP candidates from his erstwhile Rohini seat that was trifurcated in the delimitation process. The lowest victory margin was recorded in Malka Ganj ward where the BJP candidate defeated the Congress candidate by just two votes. Interestingly, of the 17 BSP candidates who won their seats, 11 bagged general category seats, while five emerged victorious from reserved category seats. After the results were announced, BJP supporters started thronging the party's State head office on Pant Marg. Euphoric scenes were witnessed as crowds danced with Delhi BJP chief Harsh Vardhan and MPs Vijay Kumar Malhotra and Arun Jaitley.