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Cong blown away in Delhi
2-thirds majority for BJP, Akali Dal alliance
Syed Ali Ahmed
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 7
The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) alliance defeated the Congress in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections by winning more than two-third seats. This peoples’ verdict was against inflation, the sealing and demolition drive and the anti-incumbency factor.

The election was held for 272 seats. The BJP-SAD combine, the main Opposition party in the MCD, bagged 164 seats, including four by the SAD and one by Akali Dal (Panthik), defeating many heavy weights of the ruling party. The Congress secured 69 seats, which was 39 seats less than what they held last time.

In a major surprise the BSP swept 15 seats, while independents secured 16, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) 2, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) 2, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) 2 and the Loktantrik Janta Party (LJP) 2 to give the new civic body a wider peoples’ representation.

The Bharitya Janshakati Party (BJSP) of Uma Bharti, which had an alliance with the INLD, had claimed that it would win a large number of seats in the civic body elections. But it could even open its account. This was the first time it was contesting elections in Delhi. Former Delhi Chief Minister and ousted BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana was president of the Delhi unit of BJSP. The Nationalist Congress Party had alliance with Loktantrik Janta party, CPI and CPM.

The BJP had contested elections on 271 seats. Its nominees defeated many heavyweights of the Congress.

The counting begun at 8 am and just an hour later it was clear that the BJP would sweep the elections as its nominees got an early lead on a majority of the seats. Congress heavyweights in the corporation like Brij Mohan Sharma, Tarsem Bansal, Sirish Chand Tiwari, Sanjaypuri were defeated by the BJP candidates. These Congress leaders were members of most powerful standing committee of the MCD, which took all financial decisions of the corporation. Besides, former deputy mayor and health committee chairman Ramesh Dutta and a senior councillor Zameer Ahmed Munna were also defeated.

In the last elections when there were only 134 seats in the corporation, the Congress had won 108 seats and the BJP 16. The number of seats in MCD was increased after delimitation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi wards.

The BSP had only one seat in the last elections but in this corporation elections it had major gain after winning 15 seats from Muslim and Dalit-dominated areas. Members of a few resident welfare associations had also jumped in the fray but they, too, could not open their account.

BJP spokesman Arun Jaitly said that sealing, demolition and inflation were main issue for the BJP in these elections. There was a feeling of insecurity in citizens after the sealing and demolition drive launched by the municipal corporation of Delhi. The traders were also upset. Thousands of traders had to close their business. These were the reasons the electorates voted to oust the Congress from the corporation.

“The municipal election is the semi-final. If the Congress failed to change its policies it will be defeated in the Delhi Assembly elections to be held in two years,” he claimed.

AICC general secretary and party in-charge of Delhi Ashok Gehlot said that the outcome of the Delhi civic polls could have been somewhat better if Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her bete noire DPCC chief Ram Babu Sharma had worked together.

He also attributed the poll debacle to the burning issues of sealing and demolition.

Training guns at the DPCC chief, Sheila Dikshit said that Delhi Pradesh Congress had failed to come up to the expectations.

Ram Babu Sharma also admitted that sealing and demolition were behind the debacle in the elections.

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