Sajjan gone, BJP smells a win brewing in the south | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sajjan gone, BJP smells a win brewing in the south

The sudden ouster of Congress MP Sajjan Kumar from the fray in south Delhi has the BJP sniffing a real chance of victory in this seat, where the Congress was sure of a landslide win, Avishek G Dastidar reports.

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2009 01:27 IST
Avishek G Dastidar

The sudden ouster of Congress MP Sajjan Kumar from the fray in south Delhi has the BJP sniffing a real chance of victory in this seat, where the Congress was sure of a landslide win.

What has buoyed the BJP’s hopes is not a newfound strategy, but some electoral arithmetic in the saffron camp, which thinks the Congress does not really have a leader “big” enough to guarantee a win here.

“Although Sajjan Kumar, being the sitting MP, had anti-incumbency going against him because he did not do any work, his name did hold sway among Congress voters in many pockets. No other local Congress leader can guarantee that from here,” said Tughlakabad MLA Ramesh Bidhuri, the BJP nominee in the constituency.

The names of Congress’s local MLAs, Balram Tanwar from Chattarpur and Yoganand Shastri from Mehrauli are doing the rounds in the Congress camp. While veteran Tanwar is a popular Gujjar leader, Delhi Assembly Speaker Shastri from the Jat community is being touted as the frontrunner for the ticket. “These leaders cannot hope to pull the Congress votes as Sajjan Kumar possibly could,” he said.

And as per conventional calculations in the BJP, a not-so- famous Congress candidate will result in a large chunk of traditional Congress votes going the BSP’s way, splitting the chunk of anti-BJP votes.

November’s Assembly election statistics show Congress garnered 37 per cent votes in this area, comprising 92 per cent former rural Outer Delhi seat. The BJP trailed with 31.5 per cent votes. But the BSP emerged as the dark horse with an unprecedented 24 per cent votes.

But amid the twist in the calculations that Sajjan Kumar’s exit has brought about, the BSP, too, is counting its chickens the same way as the BJP.

“The OBC vote bank here is around 31 per cent. Why would they vote for an obscure Congress candidate?” asked BSP candidate from the area, Kanwar Singh Tanwar, who stood for the Chattarpur Assembly seat in November but lost.

“The entire SC/OBC vote will come our way. And we will also get the 6 per cent Muslim votes because BSP has given tickets to three Muslims in Delhi,” Tanwar, the richest politician in Delhi, said.