||The Muslim vote also seems to have
backed Kapil Sibal
Delimitation didn't come
in the way of Congress candidate Kapil Sibal's emphatic victory in Chandni
Chowk. As the contours of the
beyond four assembly seats to 10, the Congress vote share also increased
substantially. With the party securing almost double the number of votes
over BJP in all 10 segments, Sibal trounced his nearest rival Vijender
Gupta by over 2 lakh votes.
Gupta's caste and community
calculations also failed. His trusted trader votebank in Shalimar Bagh
where the turnout was highest at 90,384 disappointed him. Even in areas
like Model Town and Shakur Basti, where BJP was expected to do well, the
party couldn't garner support. The Vaish and Punjabi voters comprising
almost 30% of the voters also seem to have deserted him.
BJP workers said internal
bickering led to the fall of Gupta in Shalimar Bagh with some councillors
openly supporting Sibal. Gupta being a relatively lesser known face and
his campaigning lacking focus on development issues are also being cited
as reasons for his defeat. He raised school fee hike issue and questioned
Sibal's accessibility as an MP.
The Muslim vote also seems
to have backed Sibal. Despite the low turnout in Muslim dominated constituencies
like Matia Mahal, Ballimaran, the margin of Kapil's victory was highest
in Matia Mahal 33,057.
|By the fifth round, with
Sibal leading by almost more than one lakh votes, Gupta left the counting
centre amid celebrations by Congress workers. Soon after, an overconfident
Sibal walked in with family even as his sons monitored the counting. Claiming
that he had always been sure of his victory, Sibal said: "My campaign was
focused on positive development issues unlike BJP.''
Citing the reason for
his defeat, Gupta said: "The Congress trend all across the country is being
seen as a reason for BJP candidates not doing well in Delhi.''
Meanwhile, BSP candidate
Mohd Mustaqeem said he was disappointed, as he got only 26,486 votes. He
said: "I had at least expected my Muslim brothers to come out in support
of me.'' In fact, Mustaqeem's security money was forfeited as he was not
able to get the required number of votes. With a large number of independent
candidates here, none were able to get more than 3,000 votes.