SDPI tilled the ground but Cong reaped the fruits

SDPI tilled the ground but Cong reaped the fruits

Congress supporters celebrate Rizwan Arshad's victory in front of Mount Carmel College on Monday. DH Photo/Janardhan B K

The Congress party possibly reaped the benefits of extensive fieldwork done by the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in the Shivajinagar assembly constituency. 

A win in the central Bengaluru segment was the only saving grace for the Congress party which was locked in a fierce battle with the BJP. While the Congress leaders did the fieldwork, the BJP carried out a high-decibel campaign. But what the BJP overlooked was a similar groundwork carried out by the SDPI. 

The SDPI’s work may have unwittingly helped the Congress party. “SDPI workers went door-to-door, gathering voter’s contact details, especially in Muslim-dominated areas. Even on the polling day, they kept calling people to turn up in large numbers and cast their vote. We thought we would win by not more than 2,000-3,000 votes,” said a Congress leader. “In retrospect, it seems voters did turn up, but they didn’t believe the SDPI could win and that’s why they voted for us.” 

Rizwan Arshad of the Congress romped home by securing 49,890 votes, a lead of 13,521 votes over the BJP’s M Saravana who polled 36,369 votes. The SDPI secured 3,141 votes. JD(S) candidate Tanveer Ahmed Ullah got only 1,098 votes, losing his deposit. 

Another factor that helped the Congress win was the high turnout in Muslim-dominated areas and a relatively poor voter attendance in the Hindu pockets, the person quoted above said. Evidently, the voter turnout was impressive in Muslim-dominated wards such as Bharathinagar, Jayamahal and Ramaswamy Palya (Mubarak Mohalla). “It was at least 10% more than the turnout in other areas. In Vasanthnagar and the localities dominated by Tamil-speaking people and other voters, the turnout was far lower,” according to the Congress leader. 

Speaking to DH after the counting of voters, Arshad said he had stood with the people of Shivajinagar through thick and thin. “I reside here and understand people’s problems. They believe a youth like me can work for their welfare.”

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