Ending a month of uncertainty and speculation, the central leadership of the BJP named Harsh Vardhan as the party’s Delhi unit chief on Wednesday.
Senior BJP leader Vijay Goel had resigned as Delhi BJP chief after he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
A practising ENT surgeon, Harsh Vardhan is an old hand at the job. He has already served as Delhi BJP chief, presiding over its 14 Pandit Pant Marg office, between 2003 and 2009.
Party sources said Harsh Vardhan is being saddled with two important positions — he is also the leader of the BJP legislature party in the Delhi Assembly — going against the BJP’s policy of “one person,one post”, as there was a lack of able leadership in the state unit.
It is learnt that the new Delhi BJP chief has been given a free hand ahead of the Lok Sabha polls and has been asked to take the AAP heads on. It is understood that the move has the backing of the party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi and Harsh Vardhan is also known to be close to the RSS.
Sources said a change in the state leadership was anticipated ever since the party failed to come to power in Delhi under the leadership of Goel. The party has also been riddled with infighting and open rebellion in the run-up to the Delhi Assembly elections last December.
The party also recently appointed senior BJP leader from Madhya Pradesh Prabhat Jha as the state in-charge, effectively curbing the power of its party in-charge Nitin Gadkari. Jha is expected to coordinate with Harsh Vardhan in finalising the names of prospective Lok Sabha candidates for the seven seats in Delhi. This selection will be crucial for the BJP in terms of stemming the AAP’s Lok Sabha aspirations in the capital.