At a time when Delhi is likely to see a mid-term snap poll with 20 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs being disqualified, factionalism within the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not likely to be good for the party in the event of any election.
The tussle between the two camps of Vijay Goel, senior leader and minister in the Narendra Modi Cabinet, and state president Manoj Tiwari—that first came out in the open after the municipal corporation polls in the capital—is still far from over.
Sources within the party also indicate that all is not well when it comes to the Delhi unit of the BJP as the infighting has virtually made it difficult for the party leadership to take any strong decision in Delhi.
A senior party functionary, who did not wish to be named, told this newspaper, “The party cadre are divided between loyalists of Vijay Goel and of Manoj Tiwari. The party lacks unity, with one group trying to assert themselves over the other. In such a situation, if there is an election, it will become difficult to coordinate and work unitedly in Delhi. The Central leadership has to take cognisance of this matter and put it to rest as soon as possible.”
Manoj Tiwari, the singer-turned-politician belonging to Bihar, has been in active politics since 2010, but rose to significant power after he won the Lok Sabha elections from Delhi. He is presumed to have mass appeal among the migrant population in Delhi, while Vijay Goel was born in Delhi into a political family and has been active in politics since his college days. Goel has even remained a Minister of State in the AB Vajpayee government, making him more senior in Delhi politics. Party functionaries here indicated that the factionalism would benefit the AAP and the Congress during any election, if the differences were not ironed out. The senior party functionary said. “This problem within the party would be beneficial to AAP and Congress as we would lose our time in figuring out whom to listen to during an election. On one hand, we have Vijay Goel who knows the politics of Delhi like the back of his hand; on the other hand, we have Manoj Tiwari who is our party president, but is new to Delhi. If senior leaders like them are not being able to work in coordination, how can workers on the ground and booth levels show discipline?”
A party supporter, who seemed inclined towards the Manoj Tiwari camp, said, “The problem with party leaders here in Delhi is that they are not being able to digest that a person from Bihar went on to become the state president of the party in Delhi. This is the reason Delhi leaders are deliberately not cooperating with Tiwari.”
However, Ravinder Gupta, general secretary, Delhi BJP and former Mayor of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, rubbished the existence of any differences between Vijay Goel and Manoj Tiwari.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, he said, “In our party, we can have differences of opinion, but there never exists factionalism within the BJP. We are all working in harmony and there is no problem between the two senior leaders of our party. And as far as elections are concerned, we are confident that we will win at least 15 out of the 20 seats, because the people of Delhi have now seen the true face of the AAP and they will not give them any chances.”