The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the Sahibabad seat in the recent assembly elections with a record margin of 1,50,685 votes. According to the polling booth-wise data provided by the Ghaziabad administration, BJP candidate Sunil Sharma secured a large number of votes from Khoda and urban segments of trans-Hindon areas.
Sharma contested the elections despite a loss from the same seat in 2012 when then-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate Amarpal Sharma defeated him with a margin of 24,348 votes. The Sahibabad seat, which came into existence in 2012, is the biggest assembly seat in the state in terms of voters.
A major reason for BJP’s victory in the seat was by votes secured from Khoda, estimated to have a population of four to five lakh. It is an established fact in political circles that the voting pattern in Khoda alone can decide the fortunes of any candidate. Before the elections, Khoda was considered a stronghold of sitting MLA Amarpal.
Under the BSP regime , Amarpal had brought a package of around Rs300 crore to the area, but the works could not materialise on the ground. Just before the 2017 elections, Amarpal also suffered a setback as he was expelled from BSP. He later contested elections on a Congress ticket.
In Khoda, he secured around 21,600 votes while BJP bagged 48,693 votes. BSP candidate Jalauddin Siddiqui secured around 8,730.
BJP leader Smriti Irani had also come to Khoda for an election rally in which she focused primarily on local issues and avoided state or national issues. She spoke on the fate of the Rs300-crore package, crimes against women and girls, poor roads and sewage system, garbage disposal and the issue of overhead electricity wires.
Another major lead for BJP was from Vasundhara where it won over 17,000 votes while Congress and BSP could fetch only around 3,500 and 1,950 votes, respectively. In Indirapuram and Vaishali too, BJP secured a little over 23,000 votes while Congress and BSP got only 5,300 and 1,700, respectively.
In densely population Arthala, BJP got almost double the votes won by Congress and triple the votes secured by BSP. In Ramprastha and Brij Vihar too, the party maintained a healthy lead over rivals.
However, it fared poorly in the Muslim-dominated localities of Pasonda and Shaheed Nagar. In Pasonda, Congress secured more than 7,000 votes while the BJP candidate could gather only around 1,900. The same was the case in Shaheed Nagar from where Congress bagged over 13,000 votes while BJP could muster only around 3,400.
During the counting phase on March, Congress could better BJP only in four out of 30 rounds. In the remaining rounds, BJP gained continuous leads and was finally declared winner. In all, BJP’s Sharma secured 2,62,741 votes while Congress’ Amarpal remained the runner-up with 1,12,056 votes and BSP’s Siddiqui had to contend with just 41,654 votes.