Sahibabad, the biggest assembly seat in Uttar Pradesh, will now have a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA who believes development works will not suffer as the party is in power at the Centre and in the state. The district also has a BJP MP.
The win is largely attributed to the development works carried out by prime minster Narendra Modi. He has gained the trust of people. Parties tried to project demonetisation in a negative manner but people went with the PM. There was definitely a wave in favour of PM Modi and the BJP similar to what prevailed during 2014 general elections,” Sunil Sharma, BJP’s winning candidate from Sahibabad, said.
“Apart from the local development works, my focus will be on curbing crime,” he said.
Of the 11 contesting candidates, Sharma secured 61.82% votes of a total of 4,24,989 votes cast on February 11. His victory margin of 1,50,685 is also the biggest in all five segments in the district. The constituency has 8,65,275 voters.
This time, people from urban settlements such as Kaushambi, Indirapuram, Vaishali and Vasundhara came out to vote in large numbers. On the polling day, a number of voters had said they will vote for better Centre-state coordination as it will speed up development works.
Despite unprecedented publicity campaigns by the district administration, the polling percentage failed to pick up from 2012 and was recorded at 49.12%. More than half the votes went to the BJP candidate.
Sharma and his nearest opponent Amarpal Sharma were in a neck-to-neck contest during the first four rounds of counting on Saturday. From the fifth round, the BJP candidate took the lead and finally won.
Sahibabad is marred by issues such as hardness in groundwater, and lack of degree colleges, government hospitals and playground facilities for youngsters. Sharma said he will take these issues on priority.
The seat was expected to have a three-way contest but Sharma’s figures narrate a different story. BSP’s Jalaluddin Siddiqui, who finished third, could muster only 41,654 votes. As many as 3,057 voters preferred the none of the above (NOTA) option.
Before the polls, BSP’s sitting MLA Amarpal Sharma was expelled from the party. Though there were rumors that he would join the BJP, he eventually shook hands with the Congress and contested as the Congress/Samajwadi Party alliance candidate.
Amarpal Sharma was the first MLA from Sahibabad constituency that was formed in 2012. Five years ago, he had trounced BJP’s Sunil Sharma who was the then sitting MLA from Ghaziabad seat.