Springing a surprise in Delhi, the BJP on Saturday nominated three recent entrants in the party — Maheish Girri, Manoj Tiwari and Udit Raj — for the Lok Sabha elections from East Delhi and Northwest Delhi constituencies. While party chief Harsh Vardhan is set to contest from Chandni Chowk, BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi was nominated from the New Delhi seat.
And with sitting MLAs Pravesh Verma and Ramesh Bidhuri nominated from West Delhi and South Delhi seats respectively, BJP has declared its candidates for all seven seats in the capital, where it hopes to wrest control from the Congress, which won all seven in 2009.
Sources in the BJP said sitting MLAs were given tickets to increase their chances of winning. The move may spell trouble for the party in Delhi, which may go to polls after President’s rule is lifted, following Lok Sabha polls.
Delhi party chief Harsh Vardhan now completes the triangular battle for Chandni Chowk against Union Minister Kapil Sibal and the AAP’s Ashutosh. In a seat where Muslims form a fair share of the electorate, the BJP hopes the minority vote will either spilt between the Congress and AAP or even help the BJP since Harsh Vardhan is considered acceptable over other BJP candidates.
Lekhi, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken and journalist Ashish Khetan from the AAP will battle it out in the New Delhi constituency, where the Congress had a poor showing in the Assembly elections.
Dalit leader Udit Raj will contest against Union Minister Krishna Tirath from the reserved Northwest Delhi constituency while Bhojpuri singer and actor Manoj Tiwari will face former Delhi Congress chief J P Agarwal in Northeast Delhi. While Raj has championed the reservation cause for Dalits across the country and joined the party recently, the BJP hopes to garner the significant poorvanchali vote with Tiwari in Northeast Delhi.
Pravesh Verma, son of late CM Sahib Singh Verma successfully contested the Assembly elections from Mehrauli and will face Congress’ Mahabal Mishra and AAP’s Jarnail Singh from West Delhi.
Newcomer and activist Maheish Girri will contest from East Delhi against three-time Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s son Sandeep and Raj Mohan Gandhi from AAP.
“The people of East Delhi have been neglected for long. This area has immense potential. However, very little has been done to take the area to the heights it deserves. I am grateful that the party leaders think I am worthy of this responsibility, and I will try my best to fulfill all the promises and expectations that the party and the people have from me,” Girri said after securing the BJP ticket.
Meanwhile, Rao Inderjit Singh was named the BJP candidate from Gurgaon. He will fight against AAP’s Yogendra Yadav. Krishan Pal Gurjar is BJP’s Faridabad candidate. No decision has been taken for the Ghaziabad constituency, party sources said.