Expecting a turnaround in its fortunes after sitting in the Opposition for the past 15 years, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi is focusing on 15 assembly seats where it lost by a slim margin in the 2008 elections.
Senior BJP leaders said careful selection of candidates and a campaign to expose the Congress’ “misrule” as well as propagating the BJP’s vision for the city can do the trick for the party.
In 2008 assembly elections, the Congress party won eight assembly seats by a margin of less than 2,000 votes. There were several seats where the margin was between 2,000 and 5,000 votes. While the BJP candidate lost the Rajouri Garden seat by just 46 votes, the margin of victory for the Congress in Patparganj, Narela, Vikaspuri and Mustafabad was less than 1,000 votes.
The BJP lost the Mehrauli seat, represented by Delhi Assembly speaker Yoganad Shastri, by a thin margin of 1,108 votes while the former education minister Narender Nath won the Shahdara seat by just 1,536 votes.
“We need to be careful with the distribution of tickets on these seats,” Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said. “Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit knows that there will be anti-incumbency. We just need to discredit her. And I am sure the Modi factor will play a huge role this time,” Goel added.Congress leaders, however, explained that the margin of victory was narrow only because of the rebels who contested against the party’s official candidate. “There were rebel candidates on Rajouri Garden seat as well as in Mehrauli. It is actually the BJP which has to watch its own house. There were several seats where the BJP candidates won by a narrow margin and we can easily win those seats this time,” a senior Congress leader said.