On the eve of counting, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Noida candidate Pankaj Singh and local party workers are a worried lot. The challenge for the BJP is not only just to retain the Noida seat but to do so with a decisive and unequivocal margin.
The Noida assembly segment will be one of most keenly watched seats this counting day as the fortunes of Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s son Pankaj Singh is at stake there. The BJP had brought in all its star campaigners, including party president Amit Shah and Delhi BJP unit president and Bhojpuri singer Manoj Tiwari, to canvass votes for the home minister’s son.
In 2012, Dr Mahesh Sharma, who is now MP and a minister in Narendra Modi cabinet, had defeated BSP’s Om Dutt Sharma by a margin of 27,664 votes. Sharma got 77,226 votes, while Om Dutt could muster only 59,582 votes. Sharma had vacated the Noida seat after he won the Lok Sabha elections from Gautam Budh Nagar Lok Sabha seat.
BJP’s Vimla Batham, 62, had won the Noida assembly bypoll in 2014 by a margin of 58,952 votes. The challenge for the BJP will be for Pankaj to break the 2014 record.
In fact, Batham had won with the biggest margin of votes among all 47 BJP MLAs in UP.
“We will easily win the Noida seat because people have voted for change, development and good governance that the BJP will provide after forming the government. But it is not easy to predict whether we will break the 2014 record. In 2014, I won by a margin of 58,952 votes, which was a miracle. Miracles do not happen too often. We are keenly awaiting the results,” said Batham, sitting BJP MLA from Noida.
She was denied a ticket as the party decided to field Pankaj from the Noida, a BJP stronghold.
“We are sure of a victory on this seat. But we are worried whether we will break the 2014 record. If we win this seat by a margin of 10,000 to 20,000 votes, we will not be too happy. But if we win the seat by a margin of more than 60,000, it will be a huge victory. We will distribute 100kg sweets if we win this seat by more than 60,000 votes,” said Manish Sharma, spokesperson, BJP unit, Noida.