Though the Rohtash Nagar assembly constituency has traditionally been a BJP stronghold, Congress?s Radhey Shyam Khanna had wrested the seat from BJP MLA Alok Kumar by a slim margin of 163 votes in 1998.india Updated: Nov 28, 2003 14:43 IST
Though the Rohtash Nagar assembly constituency has traditionally been a BJP stronghold, Congress’s Radhey Shyam Khanna had wrested the seat from BJP MLA Alok Kumar by a slim margin of 163 votes in 1998. This was the narrowest margin by which any BJP candidate had lost in the 1998 election when the onion crisis had ensured the party’s defeat.
This time, however, instead of fielding the ageing Khanna from Rohtash Nagar, the Congress has decided to field the most well-known face in the MCD, Ram Babu Sharma. Kumar, who was deputy speaker when Madan Lal Khurana was CM between 1993 and 1995, is, however, hoping to make a comeback in this election on the strength of the majority middle class votes in the area. Ram Babu, on the other hand, is confident that the Congress will retain the seat.
“I have lived in this constituency all my life and the people of Rohtash Nagar are well aware of the development works and services I have done for the community in the adjoining Nand Nagri locality which I have represented in MCD for the last seven years,” Ram Babu said. He added that while in the MCD, he and his party had taken major policy decisions keeping the welfare of people in mind, which was why he had a mass following in the area.
Rohtash Nagar is a predominantly middle class locality which has always been with the BJP (barring 1998). The Brahmins and the Vaishes are the dominant communities. Kumar, thus, has reasons to feel confident.
He is also depending on the division of votes between Sharma and Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Surender Kumar to see him through. “When I won in the 1993 elections, the Janata Dal candidate had cut into the Congress vote bank by polling 6,000 votes. This year too there is a triangular contest and I am sure that this will work to the BJP’s advantage,” the former MLA said.
Ram Babu, however, said that the BSP candidate would not affect the Congress votes. “It is only the weak candidates who depend on caste equations to see them through,” he said, adding that the Congress had a sizeable vote bank in poorer localities like Hardeo Nagar and Nathupura which have been neglected by the BJP when the party was in power.