Fielded at the last minute from the reserved North West Delhi seat, questioned over his religion and given the outsider tag — BJP’s Hans Raj Hans managed to overcome several obstacles to secure the highest vote share, 60.5%, leaving AAP’s Gugan Singh and Congress’s Rajesh Lilothia far behind.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the singer-turned-politician from Punjab credited his victory to the “Modi phenomenon”. “I was not expecting the margin to be this high. I was a stranger to this constituency but people heard what I had to say and accepted me as one of their own. I told them I am an artist following Modi’s orders, and that I would do everything to make them feel that I was born here.”
Hans said his opponents’ vote share fell because their party leaders — Congress’s Rahul Gandhi and AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal — “would lie quite often”. Earlier this month, AAP MLA Rajendra Pal Gautam had alleged Hans had converted to Islam and did not belong to the reserved category, so he cannot contest from the seat. CM Arvind Kejriwal had also tweeted that the BJP candidate was “ineligible to fight from a reserved seat (North West Delhi)”.
AAP’s Singh conceded defeat, but claimed he was “absolutely certain” that EVMs had been tampered with in some areas. “(BJP chief) Amit Shah and Hans had struggled to assemble a crowd at their rallies. How can they get over 60% votes?…,” he said. Singh also alleged that booths in areas with a large Muslim population, such as Meer Vihar in the Mundka Assembly constituency, recorded “100% voting” for the BJP, which was “unusual”.
Similar allegations were made by supporters of Congress’s Lilothia. His brother Parvesh said, “The reason behind the result today is EVM setting… If it wasn’t for (the alleged tampering), we would have won by a margin of at least one lakh votes.”
AAP’s sitting MLA from Bawana, Ram Chander, said the party could have won one to three seats if they had tied up with Congress. “We had confidence in Singh, but (Bawana and nearby) areas have nearly 80% people from UP and Bihar, and if we had fielded a candidate from these two communities, we may have won this seat,” he said.