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A different battle

india Updated: Mar 13, 2009 23:54 IST
Atul Mathur
Atul Mathur
Hindustan Times
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One parliamentary constituency that may witness a multi-cornered electoral battle in Delhi this time is Chandni Chowk.

While poll pundits see a contest between traditional rivals Congress and the BJP, the presence of Loktantrik Janshakti Party’s (LJP) Shoaib Iqbal has added an interesting dimension to the elections.

The former Delhi assembly deputy speaker is a four-time sitting MLA from Matia Mahal, one of the constituents of Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency.

Though he never won a Lok Sabha election from Chandni Chowk, he was polled sizeable number of Muslim votes in 1998 as well as in 1999 thus tilting the electoral balance in the BJP’s favour.

In 2004, Iqbal stayed out of the fray and Congress candidate Kapil Sibal comfortably won from this seat. But this time Iqbal feels he stands a fair chance of winning.

“The number of Muslim and backward class votes has gone up due to addition of portions of Sadar Bazaar and New Delhi parliamentary constituencies in the delimitation. Apart from my traditional vote bank in the Walled City, we also have support in newly added areas like Nabi Karim, Inderlok, Bara Hindu Rao, Minto Road and Shakur Basti,” said Iqbal.

It will, however, not be so easy this time. The complexion of this seat has, however, changed drastically. A Muslim dominated seat till 2004, delimitation has added a sizeable number of Punjabi and Vaish votes in this constituency.

BSP has also fielded a Muslim candidate from here.

Apart from Chandni Chowk seat, LJP is also fielding its candidates from North East Delhi and East Delhi parliamentary seats this year.