It was a dream run for Vijay Kumar Singh, the BJP’s candidate from Ghaziabad. The former army chief won his first electoral battle with a sweeping margin of 5,67,260 votes, leaving his closest rival Raj Babbar of the Congress party trailing behind with just 1,91,222 votes.
Singh’s victory margin was just 2,868 short of Narendra Modi’s winning margin of 5,70,128 in Vadodara. The Prime Minister in-waiting got 8,45,464 votes from his Gujarat constituency.
However, Singh and Modi’s victory margin, though impressive, is not the highest in India’s election history.
In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, CPI(M) candidate from Arambagh (West Bengal) Anil Basu demolished his rivals with the highest ever margin of 5,92,502 votes. So much so, even the runner-up candidate from the BJP had to forfeit his security deposit.
“People wanted change and a stable and a majority government for development. The win for BJP is highly attributed to the development agenda of Narendra Modi and his hectic election campaigns. I am ready to assume any bigger responsibility if party gives me one,” Singh told HT.
In a strategic move, Singh had rolled out a local manifesto for Ghaziabad, a day before the district went to the polling booth. And with Modi backing him up from the sidelines, the fight was half won, he says.
Singh emerged strong right from the start, dominating over his rivals in each of the 28 rounds of counting. In the 14th round, the BJP candidate had knocked out his 14 contenders — one after the other, and his supporters erupted in celebration. Singh’s challengers lost the fight and also their deposit.
The worst hit was Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Mukul Upadhyay — brother of Mayawati’s close aide Ramvir Upadhyay. Despite having four out of five MLAs in Ghaziabad, Upadhyay, who had claimed victory in his rallies, stood third with 1,73,085 votes.
The consolatory fourth spot was secured by Sudhan Rawat from Samajwadi Party with 1,06,984 votes. Speaking to HT, Rawat said that BJP’s good show was attributed to the Modi wave.
Shazia Ilmi Malik, who lost in Delhi assembly elections last year, had to face yet another defeat. She stood behind Rawat with 89,147 votes mostly she got from Sahibabad and Loni assembly segments. Shazia and Singh were engaged in a fierce war of words during their election campaigns.
After a crushing defeat, Shazia congratulated Singh via Twitter. “We must respect the mandate of the people. Introspect, learn and grow!! Jai Hind,” she tweeted, as if mocking the former army chief with a salute.
Ghaziabad parliamentary constituency witnessed an all-time high voters’ turnout of around 57.04% on April 10. The total number of votes counted on May 16 stood at 13,42,471.