Delhi BJP Chief and candidate from the Chandni Chowk constituency Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday said there was no such rule that a candidate from a parliamentary seat could not handle the state unit of a national party.
This comes after his opponent and sitting MP Kapil Sibal said if Harsh Vardhan was “keen on endorsing Chandni Chowk”, he should resign from state-level politics.
Harsh Vardhan said decisions regarding the leadership of the BJP’s Delhi unit will be taken by the party seniors in the eventuality that he wins from his parliamentary seat. “However, there is no ban on a parliamentarian handling a state unit,” he said.
He also said it was not for Sibal to question his position as, unlike Sibal, Harsh Vardhan was born and brought up in Chandni Chowk.
“Defeat is staring Sibal in the face and forcing him to make statements like this,” he said. Harsh Vardhan said he was looking forward to serving his roots, as he had spent the first 15 years of his life in the streets of Old Delhi. “I went to school here and I grew up here. I have been looking for an opportunity to come back and serve the people of Chandni Chowk,” he said.
The constituency, which has a sizeable Muslim population, has traditionally been a Congress stronghold.
The BJP candidate is confident of his victory as he believes that the people will see him as one of their own. “I believe that people and parties need to rise above concerns of religion. I have never differentiated with anyone based on where they pray,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan said the Krishna Nagar constituency, from where he was elected MLA, also has a significant Muslim population. He said this has never deterred him. “As an elected representative, my duty is to serve everyone.”
Harsh Vardhan campaigned in Northwest Delhi on Saturday where he reiterated his “strong commitment” to the upliftment of Muslims.
While accepting that during the Delhi Assembly elections, the BJP did not take the AAP seriously, he said his opponent from AAP, Ashutosh, had no connect with people.
“We have now recognised the party’s strength, although they have now been exposed through their 49-day rule in Delhi. Many of their actions are still suspect,” he said.
Harsh Vardhan said the AAP needed to come clear on the sources of its funding and also what the party wanted to achieve through politics.