Congress may lose grip on Shahdara constituency

For past 15 years, Shahdara Assembly constituency has been ruled by Congress but this time, the seat may slip out of its hands. It is conspicuous by the shrinking margin of votes between two major rivals, Congress and BJP in last two elections.

Political pundits say the loosening grip of Congress over the constituency is evident from the figures of last year’s municipal elections as well as from last Assembly polls in 2008.
In the civic elections held in 2012, Congress did not secure even a single seat. Out of four seats, three went to BJP while one was bagged by an independent candidate.

The shrinking vote bank of Congress was seen in last Assembly polls too. The margin of votes between Congress and SAD (Badal) which got over 13,000 votes in the 2003 Assembly polls, was reduced to mere 2,000 in the 2008 elections.

The Congress’ position is also in danger because of growing influence of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which got over 8,000 votes in 2008 polls.

According to political experts, if the BSP musters heavy support in these elections, Congress will lose the seat to BJP. Aam Aadmi Party has also added to the Congress’ worries.

Analysts say the constituency is a fight between Congress and BJP. After losing by a heavy margin in 1998 Assembly elections, the BJP didn’t fight the previous two Assembly polls, thus paving the way for its ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) Badal, which also failed to pull off a victory. Even the delimitation before the 2008 Assembly elections didn’t tilt the balance of power in Shahdara.

Shahdara is currently represented by Narender Nath, a three-time member of legislative Assembly.

The SAD (Badal) has fielded Jitender Singh Shunty whereas Bhim Singh is the BSP candidate from the constituency with an electorate population of 1.53 lakh. In 2008 polls, three-time MLA Narender Nath got 39,194 votes while SAD’s Shunty bagged 37,658, while the BSP opened its account with 8,104 votes.

Supply of contaminated water, clogged sewages, bad condition of roads, non-desilting of drains characterises the constituency. “For past 13 years, the area MLA is the chairman of the Trans-Yamuna Development Board which has an annual budget of Rs 100 crore, still no development has taken place in the area,” said a BJP leader.

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