The loss in the by-elections has brought out the factionalism within the BJP into the open,with senior leaders trading allegations. With the election for the post of president of the party scheduled for November,the party leaders are likely to take up the issue of change in leadership with the party high command.
Winning the by-election was being termed important for the party as it was a seat that had been won during the municipal elections held in December 2011. The results of the municipal elections had given 12 seats to the BJP-SAD alliance,11 to the Congress,2 to the BSP and one to an independent. The BJP had been claiming that the city residents had given a mandate in their favour. In fact the party had rued that Congress being able to get its Mayor elected with the help of the nominated councillors was the death of democracy.
The scales have now tilted in favour of the Congress. What is a bigger blow for the BJP is that it slipped down to the third position in the ward,while both the Congress and BSP have gained votes. The senior party leaders claim that despite there being a nationwide wave against the Congress,the party could not encash upon it.
A BJP leader,while listing out the reasons for defeat of the party,said that senior leaders of the party including Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan were not taken into confidence during the campaigning. The handbills that were printed had the picture of party president Sanjay Tandon. This had ruffled a few feathers,with the senior leaders expressing their displeasure. New handbills were then printed with pictures of Dhawan and Jain on it.
Terming it a shocking defeat,Jain said that there is a need for introspection to find out the reasons for the defeat. He said that the workers should not get disheartened and should prepare for the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. He added that the party would win that election with a thumping margin. Similar views were expressed by senior leader Harmohan Dhawan,who stated that the BJP receiving the third spot in the election was very surprising.
The party leaders state that while the Congress had asked its candidate Poonam Sharma to start working in the ward soon after the death for area councillor Laxmi Devi,BJP announced its candidate just before the nominations had to be filed. Even though Bindu Rani,the daughter-in-law of the deceased councillor,was fielded,hoping to cash in on the sympathy factor,it did not happen.
Differences had been witnessed in the party during the distribution of tickets for the municipal elections as well. While a list was finalized,the next day candidates were changed on four seats. The BJP won on just one of these seats,losing out on the remaining. One of the candidates whose ticket had been canceled contested as an independent and won the election.
Party president Sanjay Tandon stated that the party has accepted the defeat and will look into the reasons for the result.