Delhi Assembly polls: Can AAP storm BJP's Krishna Nagar bastion again?

Former Delhi top cop Kiran Bedi made her unsuccessful political debut in 2015 as a BJP candidate against AAP's S.K. Bagga from the high profile Krishna Nagar Assembly seat, also considered as one of the safest seats as it had been represented by senior BJP leader Harsh Vardhan for the previous 20 years.

Bedi, who was also the BJP's chief ministerial candidate could not save the party's blushes in the city as the AAP swept the election in the national capital winning 67 out of 70 seats. Bedi lost to AAP's Bagga, an advocate and social worker by a margin of over 2,200 votes.

The 65-plus AAP candidate is described by his supporters as a soft-spoken, confident man, as he pitched his battle with Bedi as an "insider versus outsider" contest in east Delhi. The BJP's choice of Krishna Nagar in east Delhi for the former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, who then lived in south Delhi's Uday Park, was tactical.

According to the BJP leaders, entry of Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate did not go well with the party workers and that led to her loss. The Krishna Nagar Assembly seat under the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat includes areas like Jagat Puri, Radhey Puri, Shastri Nagar, Khureji Khas, Indira Park, Police colony, Brij Puri, Ram Nagar, Anar Kali, Govind Pura, Pandit Park, Ghondli Village and others, and has a population of over 2.16 lakh voters.

According to the Election Commission there are about 1.13 lakh male voters while 1.03 lakh female voters. Krishna Nagar has the most population of Punjabis and traders. Harsh Vardhan had been winning the Krishna Nagar Assembly seat since 1993. He was undefeated till 2013 despite the 15-year rule of Congress in Delhi from 1998 to 2013.

However, Bedi contested in place of him as he was elected as a Lok Sabha MP from Chandni Chowk and was also made a minister in the central government. However, despite being one of the safest seats, Bedi lost to Bagga by a difference of over one per cent votes.

Harsh Vardhan on the other hand had always won from the seat by a margin of over 20,000 votes in all the four Assembly elections. In 2013, Congress candidate Vinod Kumar Monga had placed second after then BJP's chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan, while AAP's Ishrat Ali Ansari was third.

The BJP, Congress and the AAP have not released their list of candidates yet for the February 8 election. It will be interesting to see if Bagga, who was called the giant killer in 2015 polls after defeating Bedi, can continue with his magic or will it pave the way for the BJP to make a comeback or can the Congress manage to win the seat for the first time.

Delhi will vote on February 8 and counting of votes will take place on February 11.


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