East Delhi election result: Can Gautam Gambhir deliver a knock on Congress turf?

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East Delhi Lok Sabha Result: Hoping to repeat 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded former cricketer Gautam Gambhir against Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely and Aam Aadmi Party’s Atishi Marlena in East Delhi. Gambhir, who joined the saffron party just days before the elections, has been very vocal about issues related to the army and nationalism.

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He has been in the news for taking on Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah on Articles 370 and 35A in Kashmir. Gautam Gambhir replaced sitting BJP MP Maheish Girri from East Delhi. Girri was up against AAP’s Rajmohan Gandhi and Congress leader Sandeep Dikshit in 2014. He defeated his nearest contender Gandhi by close to two lakh votes. The BJP leader got 5,72,202 votes with 47.83 per cent vote share but his closest rival could secure just 3,81,739 with 31.91 per cent vote share.

Former Delhi CM Shiela Dikshit’s son Sandeep got just 2,03,240 with close to 17 per cent vote share. Interestingly, he had won this seat in 2009 by close to 2.4 lakh votes but couldn’t save it in 2014 in what was then called ‘Modi wave’. Sandeep had also won this seat from here by over two lakh votes in 2004.

Except Lovely who had joined the BJP for a very brief period of time but returned to the Congress, Gautam Gambhir and Atishi Marlena are political novices and are contesting their first Lok Sabha elections. Arvinder Singh Lovely is a four-time MLA and also served as a minister in the Congress government headed by Shiela Dikshit. Lovely was first elected in 1998 and then in 2003, 2008 and 2013.

Lovely is believed to have a very strong connect in Gandhi Nagar area in East Delhi. Going by Lovely’s past record, the Congress is expected to put up a tough fight in East Delhi. But the AAP has also fielded a candidate who has the reputation of transforming schools in Delhi. That makes the fight little more interesting because it is believed on the ground that if the contest goes three-way, then the BJP would be ultimate beneficiary as the vote base of both Congress and AAP is same and Atishi Marlena may eat into the grand old party’s votes. In the last general election, the saffron party had won all seven seats with over 46 per cent vote share.

Polling for all seven seats in the national capital will take place on May 12. Results will be declared on May 23.