Efforts by the Congress to reach out to Sikhs, who were enraged over the party giving tickets to 1984 riots accused leaders, seemed to have paid dividends as it secured considerable votes in the community-dominated pockets in the Lok Sabha polls in Delhi.
The Congress withdrew the candidatures of Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar at the last moment after the controversy over their alleged role in the anti-Sikh riots snowballed afresh.
The infamous shoe-throwing incident, when a journalist targeted Home Minister P Chidambaram to protest the Central Bureau of Investigation's clean chit to Tytler, jerked the party into action and the poll result suggests that the pulling out of the two political heavyweights from the fray has sent the right message to the community.
While Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee chief J P Aggarwal, who was given Tytler's North-East Delhi seat, trounced Bharatiya Janata Party's B L Sharma Prem, Sajjan's brother Ramesh won from South Delhi, defeating Ramesh Bidhuri of BJP.
In a number of Sikh-dominated assembly segments in the West Delhi parliamentary constituency like Tilak Nagar, Hari Nagar, Uttam Nagar and Rajouri Garden, Congress polled more votes than the BJP, according to election data.
In Punjabi-dominated Uttam Nagar, the Congress got 44,196 votes as against the BJP's 36,607.
In Hari Nagar, Congress polled 42,221 votes, marginally better than the BJP with 40,734 votes. Congress secured 46,919 votes in Rajouri Garden segment while the BJP got only 26,879. The outcome was tilted in favour of the Congress in Tilak Nagar too with the party securing 39,681 votes as against 32,481 of BJP.
Other than the withdrawal of candidatures of Tytler and Sajjan, the Congress also sought to woo the Sikh voters by fielding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Dr Singh addressed a poll meeting in Hari Nagar during the last leg of campaigning.