Harsh Vardhan ‘demoted’ to help Delhi BJP, say leaders

Sources close to BJP’s central leadership said Vardhan has been removed from prominent portfolio due to lack of performance.

Written by Pragya Kaushika | New Delhi | Updated: November 11, 2014 10:34 am

NOIDA got its man into Narendra Modi’s cabinet but Delhi didn’t get one more berth and its lone man, Harsh Vardhan, was sort of demoted. Well, it’s all for a good reason, feel some of BJP’s Members of Parliament from Delhi.

The sentiment, said a senior Delhi leader, is that the forthcoming elections in the capital needs to be won first. The prime minister is looking to the MPs to put in their collective efforts towards that goal and not get distracted by executive work, he said.

However, many local leaders have been hurt by the supposed demotion of Harsh Vardhan, the MP from Chandni Chowk, from health ministry to a lesser portfolio of science and technology. This ministry has had eight ministers in the past five years and is therefore perceived as a shunting post.

“A party elevates a leader’s standing if it wants him or her to be its face in the elections. The act of changing his ministry to an insignificant one will not lead to the perception that Harsh Vardhan is BJP’s chief ministerial candidate,” said a senior leader.

Sources close to BJP’s central leadership said Vardhan has been removed from the prominent portfolio due to lack of performance. “More foreign trips, less focus on work in Delhi and slow delivery on goals are some of the reasons being cited,” he said.

But the leadership remains divided over Vardhan. There are some who believe he has been allowed more time to devote  to Delhi. “The fact that he still is a cabinet minister says something. I believe he would be brought back to Delhi,” added another local leader.

National secretary BJP, R P Singh, tweeted: “Bringing Mr clean Dr Harsh Vardhan would be welcomed by the Delhiites.”

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