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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

BJP sure of 4 seats in Delhi, uncertain about 3

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 03, 2014
First Published: 01:09 IST(3/4/2014) | Last Updated: 08:39 IST(3/4/2014)

With a week to go for Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, the Sangh Parivar has given the BJP four out of seven.

An internal assessment says the saffron party is confident its candidates will wrest the west (Pravesh Verma), south (Ramesh Bidhuri), northeast (Manoj Tiwari) and northwest (Udit Raj) Delhi seats from the Congress. It says it is facing a triangular fight in Chandni Chowk (Harsh Vardhan) but believes the result can go the BJP’s way.

However, it admits its chances in the remaining seats — New Delhi (Meenakshi Lekhi) and east Delhi (Mahesh Giri) — are sketchy.

Read: Five out of 7 BJP candidates in Delhi facing criminal charges

The study was done during the first phase of the Jan Sampark Abhiyaan, a mass door-to-door programme to connect with voters launched by the RSS and BJP across

Delhi, and completed on March 31. The second phase started on April 1. According to BJP sources, the informal assessment is based on feedback from teams of 20-30 workers, comprising both RSS and BJP cadre, who covered more than 11,000 polling booths. This will now be used to strengthen the crucial last six days of campaigning.

Read: BJP may emerge leader but fall short of magic figure: Pawar

The favourable assessment in four seats has been put down to strong candidates — Verma and Bidhuri are sitting MLAs — and a deep connect with rural voters.
In Chandni Chowk — where Vardhan is up against sitting Congress MP Kapil Sibal and AAP candidate Ashutosh — the BJP is hoping to gain from a split in minority votes between the other two parties. “I’m thoroughly confident of a win. The kind of response I’ve received is tremendous,” said Vardhan, who is also the party’s Delhi unit chief.

Read: BJP may sweep all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat: survey

Journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh isn’t too worried. “I’m neither worried nor concerned about any survey. My biggest challenge is not the opponents but the huge expectation of the people,” he said.

In New Delhi, the Congress’ Ajay Maken is the favourite. To Lekhi’s disadvantage, the BJP also does not have much influence in the two dozen-odd jhuggi-jhopri (slum) clusters in the area.

Read: BJP manifesto delayed as Modi stamp not yet okayed

Similarly, in east Delhi, Giri has a tough fight on his hands as he is up against two-time sitting Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit and AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi. “In east

Delhi, the party has fielded a non-Purvanchali candidate who is also an outsider who joined the party recently,” a source said.

The BJP now plans to make a special push for these two seats.


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