‘The decision is being taken to tackle infighting in the party’s Delhi unit.’

 

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party is unlikely to project a chief ministerial candidate for the Delhi Assembly polls likely to take place between January and February next year.

Sources in the BJP have said that the decision of no chief ministerial candidate in the Assembly polls for Delhi is being taken within the top ranks of the BJP to tackle the infighting within the Delhi unit of the BJP.

The issue of infighting within the BJP has cropped up several times in the last two years. Two major power centres have been created within the BJP—one that of senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Vijay Goel, and the other of the BJP Delhi president Manoj Tiwari. They have criticised each other openly many times in the past.

Recently, Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari distanced himself from the protest on the odd-even road rationing scheme called by Vijay Goel. Goel had flouted the law by taking out his odd number car on the streets on an even day to register his protest against the Aam Aadmi’s Party’s efforts to control pollution in the city.

Vijay Goel also had to cancel a mega rally he had planned to organise at the Talkatora stadium in Delhi to show solidarity with people from unauthorised colonies. Sources close to Goel said that he was forced to take this decision after he did not get support from the Delhi unit of the BJP.

Sources in the BJP have said that both Manoj Tiwari and Vijay Goel are positioning themselves as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Delhi. Apart from this, there are also several other BJP leaders who have been rallying for the post of the Chief Minister. Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, East Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir, Union Minister Harshvardhan are among some other names doing the rounds within the BJP circles.

The top leadership of the Central unit of the BJP has also taken cognisance of the internal feud in Delhi BJP. The BJP’s national working president J.P. Nadda also held a meeting with the Delhi unit of the BJP, including the Delhi president Manoj Tiwari, Delhi in-charge Prakash Javadekar, national vice president Shayam Jaju, senior leader B.L. Santosh, Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and MPs Meenakshi Lekhi, Hans Raj Hans and Vijay Goel.

Sources aware of the meeting told this correspondent that apart from the preparedness of the party for the Delhi Assembly polls, infighting within the Delhi BJP was also discussed in the meeting.

A source said, “The top leadership has instructed the Delhi unit to stop the infighting and work as a team. The Delhi incharge has been instructed to see that no infighting takes place within the party as this will hurt the party in the elections. It was also discussed that the party has fair chances of winning the Assembly polls and that if this internal feud is not contained, the party could well lose this election in Delhi.”

However, some sections of the BJP still feel that a chief ministerial candidate would be a good decision to counter a strong CM face like Arvind Kejriwal.

On the condition of anonymity, a BJP leader said, “If the BJP has no CM face for the Delhi polls, it will be a drawback for the party as it will give a message to the voters that the BJP is not sure of its candidate. To counter a strong Chief Minister like Arvind Kejriwal, we should have a CM face while going to the polls.”

The BJP functionary also said that the party should project a neutral face like Hardeep Singh Puri as the chief ministerial candidate for Delhi. “Hardeep Puri has no baggage and he is seen as a neutral person who has no allegiance to any camps within the Delhi unit. He is a Sikh and would connect with the many Sikh and Punjabi voters of
Delhi.”

 

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