With the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates for the Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha seat all but decided, the lack of clarity on a nominee from the BJP has the party cadre uncertain. While names of former BJP ministers and leaders continue to do the rounds, party workers believe a decision on the candidate could help boost morale in a contest against a Union minister and a senior AAP leader.
Earlier reports had suggested four potential candidates — former Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta, who unsuccessfully contested the New Delhi seat against Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi Assembly polls; Nalin Kohli, who was involved in a fracas with AAP workers earlier this month, and two sitting MLAs, Mangat Ram Singhal and Nand Kishore Garg. However, with the party leadership unwilling to let MLAs contest a parliamentary election, Kohli and Gupta have emerged the frontrunners.
A BJP leader said, “The party plans to nominate someone who can take on Sibal and Ashutosh. While Nalin Kohli is an option,
Vijender Gupta seems a stronger candidate in terms of political experience and popularity.”
According to a BJP MP from Uttar Pradesh, “Kapil Sibal might be a two-time winner, but the trend this time favours the BJP. Given the Modi wave, the odds seem to be in our favour.”
Media reports last year had suggested that social activist and retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi was likely to be offered a BJP ticket for the Lok Sabha elections from Chandni Chowk. However, BJP sources remained tight-lipped on the issue, while Bedi denied the reports.
Acknowledging the AAP’s sway over a large section of voters, BJP leaders, however, contended that after the exit of the Arvind Kejriwal government, the popularity of the party had waned and votes — that would have otherwise gone to the AAP — could go to the BJP in the coming elections.
Suyash Gabriel & Kartik Kumar The reporters are students of EXIMS
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