The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reclaimed the coveted Ghaziabad assembly seat from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which had consecutive victories in 1991, 1993 and 1996, and on a fourth occasion in 2007. The BJP’s Atul Garg, who had lost the seat in the 2012 elections, defeated sitting BSP MLA Suresh Bansal by 70,505 votes.
The last time the BJP won this seat was in 1991.
“I am sure people voted this time keeping aside caste and religious lines. I promise I will work for all-round development and will try to bring developmental schemes. There were aspersions cast by other parties about demonetisation but people voted majorly for the BJP,” he said.
For BJP workers, Holi started two days early. City unit president Ajay Sharma said he has already ordered 21 gunny bags of ‘Gulal’ (Holi colour) and 1,001kg of ladoos to celebrate the win and the festival of colours.
“There was a ‘Modi wave’ similar to the one ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Then, we removed ‘maa bête ki sarkar’ and now we removed ‘baap bête ki sarkar’. The city will progress,” he said.
The Ghaziabad seat has 4,23,919 voters of whom nearly 2,25,353 voted on February 11. The fight was tough between Garg and Bansal as the latter is a sitting MLA from Bahujan Samaj Party and well known in social circles and traders’ community. Bansal also had a major support base in densely populated Vijay Nagar.
“People chose me in 2012 and denied me a win now. I accept the people’s verdict. Similar things have happened to other candidates across the state,” Bansal said.
From 1991 to 1996, the seat was held continuously by former UP minister Baleshwar Tyagi. In 2002, the seat went to the Congress but was won again in 2007 by Sunil Sharma. However, Bansal won the seat in 2012.
Garg maintained a lead over his rivals from the first round and gained a considerable lead of over 50,000 votes by round eight. Finally, Garg won with a 55.11% vote share.