Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 11
All four Delhi Assembly seats that the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) decided not to contest this time have been won by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Questions are being asked if the Sikhs abstained from supporting the BJP and if the party failed to capitalise on the issue of 1984 anti-Sikh riots. Several riot-hit areas such as Hari Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Jangpura and Kalkaji have returned AAP candidates.
Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar, Shahdara and Kalkaji were allotted to the Akalis, who withdrew from the contest on January 21, a day before nominations were to close. The BJP defeat on these seats is huge. In Rajouri Garden, that was in 2015 won by Manjinder Singh Sirsa, the president of cash-rich Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, there are almost 60,000 Sikh voters.
This seat has been won by AAP. In Hari Nagar, BJP’s Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga lost to Raj Kumari, a Jat hailing from Haryana.
Three other seats – Timarpur, Tilak Nagar and Jangpura — have a sizeable Sikh population.These have been bagged by the Aap Aadmi Party. BJP’s Surinder Pal Singh Bittoo lost in Timarpur. The seat has about 22,000 Sikh votes. In Jangpura, Impreet Singh Bakshi of the BJP and Tarwinder Singh Marwah of the Congress both lost to AAP’s Parveen Kumar. This constituency has about 20,000 Sikh votes.
The SAD had announced its support to the BJP. Of the 1.46 crore voters in the national Capital, an estimated 12 lakh are Sikhs. “Better co-ordination with us may have thrown up different results,”said Dr Daljit Singh Cheema, SAD spokesperson. “Local BJP leaders did not want Akali candidates to be fielded. Hence, we stayed away.”
The SAD had in 2015 polled 2.2 per cent votes in Delhi. The party had contested four seats, two on the BJP symbol. The entire leadership from Punjab had then campaigned aggressively.
(With inputs by Jupinderjit)
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