The Delhi Assembly election saw voters backing incumbent Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) against challenger Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Following a resounding victory, having bagged 62 of the city-state’s 70 seats, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP is set to form the state government for a third straight time.
The result of the Assembly election, declared on February 11, came as major setback for the BJP, especially after its landslide victory in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, in which it had polled over 55 per cent votes in Delhi. Despite the best efforts of Home Minister Amit Shah — who campaigned extensively in the city along with over 200 other members of Parliament, the entire Union Cabinet and all chief ministers of states ruled by the BJP or its allies — the saffron party’s membership of the Delhi Assembly rose to only eight. The party had bagged only three seats in the 2015 Delhi election, against the AAP’s 67. The seat tally of the third major party in the race, the Congress, remained unchanged at zero.
In terms of vote share, while the AAP saw a marginal decline from 54.34 per cent to 53.57 per cent, the BJP’s share rose by 6 percentage points from 32.19 per cent to 38.46 per cent. The Congress’ vote share, meanwhile, plumbed further to 4.34 per cent from 9.65 per cent in 2015.
Business Standard takes a look at the five constituencies where the difference in vote share of the winning candidate and their nearest rival was the widest:
1. Matia Mahal
Winner: Shoaib Iqbal (AAP)
Winner’s vote share: 75.96 per cent
Runner-up: Ravinder Gupta (BJP)
Runner-up’s vote share: 19.24 per cent
Difference: 59.58 percentage points
In the Matia Mahal Assembly constituency, the AAP's Shoaib Iqbal defeated his nearest rival Ravinder Gupta of the BJP by 50,241 votes. Of the 88,570 votes cast here, Iqbal secured 67,282, or 75.96 per cent. By comparison, the vote share of Gupta (17,024 votes) was 19.24 per cent. The Congress' Mirza Javed Ali received only 3,403 votes (3.9 per cent).
2. Sultanpur Majra
Winner: Mukesh Kumar Ahlawat (AAP)
Winner’s vote share: 66.51 per cent
Runner-up: Ram Chander Chawriya (BJP)
Runner-up’s vote share: 23.65 per cent
Difference: 42.86 percentage points
The AAP's Mukesh Kumar Ahlawat took on the BJP's Ram Chander Chawriya and the Congress’ Jai Kishan from the Sultanpur Majra (SC) Assembly seat. Ahlawat polled 74,573 of the 112,125 cast in the constituency (66.51 per cent vote share). Chawriya, by comparison, secured 26,521 votes to have a vote share of 23.65 per cent and lost by a margin of 48,052 votes. The difference between the vote shares of the winner and the runner-up was a whopping 42.86 percentage points.
3. Seema Puri
Winner: Rajendra Pal Gautam (AAP)
Winner’s vote share: 65.82 per cent
Runner-up: Sant Lal (LJP)
Runner-up’s vote share: 24.04 per cent
Difference: 41.78 percentage points
The main candidates in the Seema Puri (SC) Assembly constituency were the AAP's Rajendra Pal Gautam, the Lok Jan Shakti Party’s (LJP’s) Sant Lal and the Congress party’s Veer Singh Dhingan. The BJP did not field its candidate in this constituency to support its ally LJP. AAP’s Gautam polled 88,392 of the 134,291 votes cast here to beat his nearest rival, the LJP’s Lal (32,284 votes, or 24.04 per cent share) by a margin of 56,108 votes. The gap between the vote shares of Gautam and Lal was 41.78 percentage points.
Winner: Sanjeev Jha (AAP)
Winner’s vote share: 62.81 per cent
Runner-up: Shailendra Kumar (JDU)
Runner-up’s vote share: 23.14 per cent
Difference: 39.67 percentage points
The Burari Assembly constituency was the only one where neither the BJP had fielded its candidate nor had the Congress. While the former had vacated this seat for its ally the Janata Dal (United)’s Shailendra Kumar, the latter had left this seat for the Rashtriya Janada Dal’s Pramod Tyagi. The AAP’s Sanjeev Gupta, contesting against 22 candidates, including Kumar and Tyagi, polled 139,598 of the 222,256 votes that were cast (a vote share of 62.81 per cent). His nearest rival, the JD(U)’s Kumar, who bagged 51,440 votes (23.14 per cent), lost by a margin of 88,158 votes. The gap between the vote shares of the two was 39.67 percentage points.
Winner: Parlad Singh Sawhney (AAP)
Winner’s vote share: 65.92 per cent
Runner-up: Suman Kumar Gupta (BJP)
Runner-up’s vote share: 27.60 per cent
Difference: 38.32 percentage points
In the Chandni Chowk Assembly seat, the AAP fielded Parlad Singh Sawhney, who had previously represented this seat in the Assembly four times (from 1998 to 2015) on Congress tickets. He was pitted against the BJP's Suman Kumar Gupta and Alka Lamba, the sitting MLA and former AAP member who was contesting this time on a Congress party ticket.
Sawhney secured 50,891 of the 77,199 votes that were cast (65.92 per cent) to defeat his nearest rival Gupta (21,307 votes, or 27.60 per cent) by a margin of 29.584 votes. The gap between their vote shares was 38.32 percentage points. Lamba was able to bag only 3,881 votes (5.03 per cent vote share).