The party has been out of power in Delhi since 1998.
The BJP may announce a chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections, likely to be held in February. The term of the current Assembly will expire on 22 February and the Election Commission is likely to announce the date for the election soon.
Though a final decision is yet to be taken whether the party should go for a CM candidate or fight the elections under “collective leadership”, a large section of party workers has conveyed to the leadership that it should go with the former option. The party has been out of power in Delhi since 1998.
Sources said that the names which are being considered by the leadership include Harsh Vardhan, Vijay Goel and Manoj Tiwari.
The party does not have a uniform policy on whether the state elections should be fought with a face and take a call depending on the situation. In case of Delhi, it is felt that since the main contender—the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)—has a strong face in Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, it is pertinent that the BJP, too, should have a CM face.
In the last few years, the party has had a CM candidate in Delhi. In 2008, the party had made V.K. Malhotra the party’s CM face. Similarly, Harsh Vardhan and Kiran Bedi were projected as the CM faces in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
A BJP source said that the fight in Delhi is going to be between the ruling AAP and BJP, while the Congress is unlikely to be a factor. In this situation, it will be a good idea to go with a CM face, he said.
The BJP’s Delhi unit has been facing the problem of infighting for a long time with many leaders aspiring to become the CM. In fact, the AAP has been mocking the BJP on the issue. The ruling party this week wished the BJP a “happy new year” to all its “seven chief ministerial candidates”—Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwari, Vijay Goel, Hardeep Singh Puri, Harsh Vardhan, Vijender Gupta and Parvesh Singh.
The party tweeted the message with image of a poster mentioning these seven names. Along with it, the party tweeted, “But the question is who will contest against Arvind Kejriwal?”
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is also the Delhi BJP in-charge for the Assembly elections, said that his party will take the right decision at the right time and that nothing has been decided so far regarding the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
The party is quite serious about the Delhi elections. Keeping that in mind, the Centre gave ownership rights to unauthorised residents colonies. A “Dhanyavad rally” was organised in the capital to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving ownership rights to 40 lakh residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies. Besides, the party has intensified its attack on the AAP government for failing to fulfil its promises made during the 2015 Assembly elections.