Congress sweeps Delhi

ONE GRAND PARTY: Ladoos all the way outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence in New Delhi on Saturday.

ONE GRAND PARTY: Ladoos all the way outside Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence in New Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: - Photo: Shanker Chakravarty

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

NEW DELHI: The Congress trounced its arch rival, the Bharatiya Janata Party, in all the seven Lok Sabha from Delhi. The party that registered a record third consecutive win in the Delhi Assembly elections winning 43 of the 70 Assembly seats only six months ago, bettered even that performance winning in 68 Assembly segments this time.

Three of the seven Congress candidates won by a margin of over 2 lakh votes.

The Bahujan Samaj Party that has made its presence felt in Delhi in recent years -- having won 17 councillor posts in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections in 2007 and winning two Assembly seats in 2008 -- fared poorly after its candidate from North-East Delhi retired in favour of the Congress candidate in the run-up to the polls.

The margin of victory for the Congress was the highest in East Delhi where Delhi Chief Minister’s son and sitting MP Sandeep Dikshit defeated his BJP rival Chetan Chauhan by 2,41,053 votes.

In North-East Delhi Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee president J. P. Agarwal, not only won the seat by the second highest margin of 2,22,243 votes but also through his ‘masterstroke’ of getting Haji Dilshad Ali of the BSP to retire in his favour, ensured that people, particularly Dalits and Muslims, lost faith in that party all over Delhi and voted en masse for the Congress.

Union Minister Kapil Sibal of the Congress defeated his BJP rival and municipal councillor Vijender Gupta by 2,00,710 votes, following a high decibel contest that saw both the candidates levelling allegations and counter-allegations against each other.

Union Minister of State and Congress candidate from New Delhi Ajay Maken who was pitted against BJP candidate and party national general secretary Vijay Goel posted a huge win by 1,87,809 votes riding mainly on the plank of the image of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his own work on the new Master Plan for Delhi through which relief had been provided to people from sealing and demolition.

Krishna Tirath won from the North-West Delhi reserved constituency by an almost similar margin of 1,84,433 votes defeating her BJP rival and former Delhi Mayor Meera Kanwaria.

Mahabal Mishra of the Congress, who was considered by many to be the weakest candidate of the seven, also proved his critics wrong by defeating senior BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi by a margin of 1,29,010 votes in West Delhi. Considering that this was the only seat where the BJP polled more than the Congress in the Assembly elections, Mr. Mishra did extremely well, winning in nine of the 10 Assembly segments.

Finally in South Delhi, where like North-East Delhi the Congress replaced its candidate Sajjan Kumar with his brother Ramesh Kumar, the change did not affect the party’s fortune. And Mr. Ramesh Kumar won comprehensively by a margin of 93,219 votes against his BJP rival and MLA Ramesh Bidhuri.

Later in the day, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit thanked the people of Delhi for voting for the Congress. “People have begun to understand what good governance is all about,” she said, expressing confidence that coordination between the Delhi government and the Centre would improve further.

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