BJP looks to take back South Delhi

South Delhi constituency was a stronghold of the BJP for 20 years since 1989 before Ramesh Kumar, brother of senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, won the seat in 2009. 

But BJP’s Ramesh Bidhuri, who lost in 2009 by a margin of 93,219 votes, intensified his poll campaign to regain the seat. 

Bidhuri also happens to be the only losing candidate that the BJP has repeated in the capital, while Kumar will be trying to defend the turf.

The third major contender is AAP’s Col Devindra Sehrawat, who unsuccessfully contested the state Assembly polls from Bijwasan in December 2013. Sehrawat attributes his loss to bogus voting and insists that the country needs the next better alternative instead of “Congress and BJP, which do not have anything to do with ground realities.”

On the other hand, riding high on the Narendra Modi wave, Bidhuri is going door to door to meet voters, but does not make any promises. 

“Voters are already confident that BJP and Modi will bring development across the nation once the new government is formed,” the three-time Tughlakabad MLA said.

Bidhuri also hired south Delhi-based public relations agency, Storytellers, to spread his message to voters, but Sehrawat reckons such agencies cannot repackage a product that is bad.  

Before Kumar’s win in 2009, the seat was dominated by BJP with Madan Lal Khurana from 1989 to 1996, Sushma Swaraj from 1996 to 1999 and Vijay Kumar Malhotra from 1999 to 2009. 

In 1999, Prime Minster Manmohan Singh had also contested from the seat, but was unable to win. Singh lost to Malhotra by a margin of 30,000 votes. 

BJP also won seven of the 10 Assembly segments that fall under the constituency in the December 2013 state Assembly elections.

At present, Kumar gathered a negative image among locals as he is known as the worst performing MP, having spent only Rs 3.03 crore from the total allocated for Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) of Rs 10.32 crore. 

He is also facing anti-incumbency factor with a host of issues, which Bidhuri and Sehrawat have been targetting. 

Besides the three, the total 19 candidates include Bahujan Samaj Party’s Sanjay Kumar Rai and independent candidate Ruby Yadav.

With a total of nearly 17.2 lakh registered voters, the constituency is predominantly a rural constituency with six of its Assembly segments comprising the rural belt – Bijwasan, Palam, Deoli, Sangam Vihar, Tughlakabad and Badarpur. 

The four others – Kalkaji, Mehrauli, Ambedkar Nagar and Chattarpur – constitute a mixed demography of urban colonies, slums and resettlement colonies. The population comprises 31.64 per cent OBCs, 18.47 per cent SCs, 9.38 per cent Brahmins, 9.4 per cent Gujjars, 6.05 per cent Muslims, 5.3 per cent Punjabis, 5.29 per cent Jats while others constitute 14.83 per cent.

Before 2008, the constituency used to be mix of South Delhi, South-East Delhi and West Delhi with Okhla, Malviya Nagar, Hauz Khas, R K Puram, Delhi Cantonment, Janakpuri, Hari Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Rajouri Garden, Sarojini Nagar and Gole Market.

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