The defeat of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) elections and issues of infighting in the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) dominated the two-day Executive Council (EC) meeting of the state unit held in the capital this week, sources said.

The EC meeting, headed by BJP state president Manoj Tiwari, started with the ABVP’s defeat in the DUSU polls. Sources in the party said that some “old associated party members” were not happy with Tiwari’s style of functioning and this was raised in the EC meeting.

“I have worked for the party for a long time. At a time when grassroots leaders like me in Delhi are expecting a greater role in the party, the state unit is sidelining me. It is like cutting us down. These issues should be sorted out at the earliest so that it does not affect the party’s prospects in the city,” a BJP leader told The Sunday Guardian.

“Several BJP leaders who got elevated in the party have no knowledge about the ground realities of Delhi’s politics. It is not about the ‘outsider versus locals’. The local leadership, especially the old guard of the BJP, is unhappy atbeing sidelined,” the same BJP leader said.

“Despite knowing about Ramesh Bidhuri’s old association with the university polls, the state unit sidelined him and the decision has impacted the party and its students’ wing adversely. The ABVP was confident of winning all the DUSU posts, but had to settle for just two posts,” the BJP leader added.

Ahead of the DUSU polls, a new team headed by Delhi BJP general secretary Ravinder Gupta had been formed. Gupta was given the responsibility of managing the DUSU elections and the state unit sidelined South Delhi parliamentarian Bidhuri who had been in-charge of the DUSU elections for the past four years.

According to sources, during the state EC meeting, Delhi BJP chief Tiwari and DUSU election in-charge Gupta drew flak from many party leaders. The state unit was asked to reach out to the ground level and listen to the “old guard” of the party. Also, the core committee members asked the Delhi unit to listen to the “disgruntled leaders” as well, so that the party can resolve the infighting.

Another party functionary said: “Infighting in the party had surfaced this year ahead of the municipal corporation election and BJP senior leaders had tried to resolve it in the previous state EC meeting held in January this year. However, nothing happened on the ground and the party lost the Bawana bypolls. At a time when the party is winning elections across the country, loss of the Bawana seat and now in the DUSU polls is alarming.”

BJP’s infighting surfaced when Tiwari and Vijay Goel clashed over ticket distribution issues in the municipal corporation polls. However, Central leaders managed to resolve the infighting and the party swept to victory in the corporation elections earlier this year. However, soon after the polls, infighting between the two surfaced again.

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