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'Underestimated' AAP threat: BJP candidates

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 07, 2013
First Published: 00:21 IST(7/12/2013) | Last Updated: 13:13 IST(7/12/2013)

Most of them scoffed at the prospect of the debutant Aam Aadmi Party making a dent into their votebank.

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But after elections in Delhi, many Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates are admitting that the AAP indeed made an impact and could have reduced their chances of victory or the margin of it. 

At a dinner hosted by BJP Delhi election in-charge Nitin Gadkari on Thursday, most candidates discussed voting patterns and many pointed out that AAP had dented their vote-bank, sources said.

“Nearly a month ago, when a meeting was held to discuss the election preparedness, the party candidates were very confident and sure of a win by a huge margin. It had changed by Thursday evening. A number of them who had been claiming victory admitted that it was difficult for them. Others said the victory margins may be quite low,” said a senior BJP leader. 

Another senior leader said AAP could play the spoilsport for the party.

“A number of workers had pointed out that AAP could be a major threat for the BJP but somehow the party played it down. Had they recognised it as a threat devised its poll strategy accordingly, it would have been in a better position. A number of candidates were caught unawares by the popularity AAP commanded,” said the leader.

Some candidates, who contested from seats that are considered BJP strongholds, said the margin of victory may be poor due to AAP eating into the anti-Congress votes.

BJP Delhi unit president Vijay Goel also admitted that AAP damaged the party’s prospects.

The party, that has been hoping for a landslide victory, is now open to “explore all options”, he said.

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