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Delimitation of wards saved the day for Cong

Congress leaders may think of many reasons for its victory in the Capital, but one of the main causes could be the demographical re-jig that took place during the delimitation process, reports Anuradha Mukherjee.

delhi Updated: Dec 11, 2008 23:58 IST
Anuradha Mukherjee

Congress leaders may think of many reasons for its victory in the Capital, but one of the main causes could be the demographical re-jig that took place during the delimitation process.

The party benefited on a number of seats, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was surprised by defeat at several assembly seats it had thought securely.

“Delimitation has worked to our advantage at a lot of places, while at other places like Okhla our votes were scattered. But BJP votes were spread thin in few concentrated parts of south and west Delhi that were considered their strongholds,” said a Congress strategist.

The reallocation of areas to balance the number of voters in each Parliamentary constituency may have caused the loss of a strong Congress bastion like Outer Delhi that was one of the most populous in the country, but in its place have created two segments in the form of Northwest and South Delhi parliamentary segments.

“Chandni Chowk Parliamentary constituency is a prime example of how delimitation worked in our favour. With the addition of Matia Mahal assembly seat, 30 per cent Muslim votes was added to this segment in one go,” said another Congress source.

Similarly, east Delhi has also emerged as a strong Congress parliamentary bet with eight out of 10 assembly seats firmly in its grip.

“If you win the assembly seats, only then can you expect logistic support when the Lok Sabha polls take place,” said a source.

According to poll strategists for the party, delimitation helped candidates scrape through even on seats where anti-incumbency was strong.

“It is a simple formula. All the seats where the candidates have won by a narrow margin are places where delimitation helped. Assembly seats like Trinagar, Kasturba Nagar, Okhla and Shahdara were all won on a narrow margin. At Patparganj for instance, Anil Chaudhry of Congress was able to brush past BJP’s Nakul Bhardwaj by a mere 661 votes,” said the party source.

Okhla assembly seat on the other hand bore the brunt of delimitation for the Congress. Congress candidate Parvez Hashmi could win by a margin of just 400 votes.

“Okhla slum cluster and Sriniwaspuri was added to Kalkaji, both have a strong Muslim and government employee presence. Okhla seat was saved by the addition of Gautampuri slums,” the source said.

Party members said West and New Delhi parliamentary segments were the only chinks in the Congress armour when it goes to Lok Sabha polls next year.

“But that can be handled if good candidates are chosen,” said a party leader.