In Chandigarh, Sanjay Tandon’s boat sinks before sailing - Hindustan Times
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In Chandigarh, Sanjay Tandon’s boat sinks before sailing

By, Chandigarh
Jun 05, 2024 05:55 PM IST

Pitted against Congress’ seasoned leader, Manish Tewari, the road was always going to be tough for Tandon, a poll debutant; of the multitude of factors that led to Tandon falling short, the anti-incumbency that built up over the 10-year reign of BJP’s Kirron Kher, who failed to address some of City Beautiful’s major issues, stands out

Call it a photo-finish or a heartbreak, the 2,504-vote loss will be a tough pill to swallow for BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon.

BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon leaves the counting centre in Chandigarh after his defeat. (Keshav Singh/HT)
BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon leaves the counting centre in Chandigarh after his defeat. (Keshav Singh/HT)

Pitted against Congress’ seasoned leader, Manish Tewari, the road was always going to be tough for Tandon, a poll debutant. Of the multitude of factors that led to Tandon falling short, the anti-incumbency that built up over the 10-year reign of BJP’s Kirron Kher, who failed to address some of City Beautiful’s major issues, stands out.

This time, Kher bowed out of the ticket race and largely stayed away from campaigning amid health issues.

Tandon was also left to fend for himself by other disgruntled party colleagues — Satya Pal Jain, Arun Sood and Davesh Moudgil to name a few — who failed to secure the party ticket. It contributed to the public perception that the saffron party was disjointed and unlikely to deliver on its promises.

For Tandon, the ticket had come after a long 10-year wait, but in Tewari, he ran into an opponent who enjoyed huge support in urban areas where the BJP is known to do well traditionally. To top that, Congress’ alliance with the Aam Aadmi Party helped it consolidate the votes from the city colonies and villages.

The Congress-AAP combine had also handed a blow to the BJP by wresting the mayor’s post after eight years in the January polls, following a drawn-out legal battle over presiding officer Anil Masih invalidating eight votes.

Party leaders feel that Tandon’s overreliance on national issues and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma put him on the back foot against Tewari’s hyper-local campaign.

A senior BJP leader also viewed Modi’s decision to not campaign in Chandigarh as sending out the wrong message.

A former councillor and RSS worker, Satinder Singh, who was the convener of the BJP colony cell, meanwhile, said, “We failed to mobilise workers and they did not join our campaign.”

Conceding defeat, Tandon said, “I express my immense gratitude towards Chandigarh voters for showing their faith in me by giving their valuable votes. I thank the party’s leaders and activists for their unwavering support. I will keep serving city people selflessly. I also congratulate Manish Tewari for being elected as Chandigarh’s MP.”

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