Haryana verdict: BJP prevails in twin Ambala City, Cantt seatsUpdated: Oct 25, 2019 00:53 IST
Anil Vij’s personal rapport with voters and the “report card” detailing his performance in the past five years helped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader retain the Ambala Cantonment seat, as results for the Haryana assembly elections were declared on Thursday.
In the end, it turned out to be a two-sided contest between the Haryana cabinet minister and Independent candidate Chitra Sarwara, as Congress’s Venu Singla Aggarwal failed to make any mark and languished on a distant third position among the six candidates.
Registering his sixth victory and third consecutive one from Ambala Cantt, Vij improved his winning margin, notwithstanding the lowest voter turnout in the seat’s history (62%).
Against a margin of 15,462 votes in 2014, Vij defeated his nearest contender by 20,165 votes, winning 53% of the total 1.21 lakh votes polled. Rebel Congress leader and former Mahila Congress national general secretary Sarwara, fighting her first assembly election, secured 36.5% votes. Meanwhile, Congress polled only 7% votes.
In the last elections, Vij had defeated Sarwara’s father Nirmal Singh, who contested from Ambala City this time.
Confident of his victory from the beginning, Vij didn’t bother to call any of the BJP’s star campaigners to woo voters. In fact, instead of making any election promise, stating that he has never done so in his entire political career, he centred his campaign on his “report card”, detailing ₹1,800-crore works either carried out or initiated in the constituency in the past five years. Known for sipping his morning cup of tea at a nukkad shop and interacting freely with his constituents, Vij also made it a point to remind the electorate how accessible he is.
After his record victory, Vij’s position within the state BJP leadership is also expected to get strengthened as most of his cabinet colleagues failed to secure the popular mandate.
In Ambala City, BJP’s Aseem Goel had to face a tougher fight to win the seat for second consecutive time. However, he managed to overcome strong anti-incumbency while cashing in on a major split in the Congress vote.
Congress rebel candidate and four-time MLA Nirmal Singh was neck and neck with Goel during the course of counting of votes on Thursday.
Finally, Singh secured 36% of the total votes polled against Goel’s 42%. In the 2014 elections, Goel had won by more than 23,000 votes. This time the winning margin was reduced to 8,952.
Congress candidate Jasbir Singh Malour could only manage 13% votes and finished third.