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Cong, BJP look to wrest seats they lost narrowly

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 16, 2013
First Published: 23:00 IST(16/10/2013) | Last Updated: 01:47 IST(17/10/2013)

While deciding their candidates for the upcoming elections, members of election committees of both the Congress and the BJP will have their task cut out for them.
 

The committees will have to be extra cautious while deciding candidates on 24 seats where the margin of victory was less than 5,000 votes in the 2008 Assembly polls.

While the emergence of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) - which garnered almost 15% votes and managed to win two seats and come second on five - was said to be one reason for the close contest on these 24 seats, another big reason was rebel candidates switching parties or contesting as Independents in 2008.

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In 2008, the Congress won eight assembly seats by a margin of less than 2,000 votes while the margin of victory was between 2,000 and 5,000 votes on seven other seats. The BJP, on the other hand, won two seats by less than 1,000 votes and won another five with a margin of less than 4,000 votes. BSP also won two seats narrowly.

"Both the Congress and BJP have their own strongholds and the two parties are expected to retain those seats. But sometimes wrong selection of candidates results in dissidence in the cadre who then start working against the official candidate. While deciding our candidates, we will be very careful to ensure that there is a consensus on the names," said a senior Congress leader who was part of its election committee.

Senior BJP leaders said their party is also eyeing the 15-odd seats where the Congress won by a narrow margin. The BJP currently has 24 MLAs in the 70-member Delhi Assembly while the Congress has 42. The anti-incumbency wave is strong against the ruling Congress and senior BJP leaders said the party can easily wrest 10-12 seats from the Congress and reach very close to the magical figure of 36 to form the government in Delhi.

"If we manage to field the right candidates, we can certainly win most of these seats. But we will also have to be careful with the seats we won by a narrow margin in 2008. We need the right candidates to ensure that the party retains those seats," a senior BJP leader said.

A senior BJP leader said the Modi factor will also work in areas where the margin was less. "The Modi factor will certainly polarise some votes in our favour," he said.

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