The power shift in the central leadership of the BJP has emboldened leaders of its deeply divided Delhi unit to mount pressure for declaration of a chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly polls due in November this year.
BJP sources said senior leaders have conveyed to the central leadership that the party needs to name a leader who can mobilise the cadres and take on three-term Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Several senior leaders are believed to have made it known that the party cannot afford to go to elections with state president Vijay Goel as its leader.
Divisions have deepened in the BJP ever since Goel was named state unit chief in February though,for the record,the party maintains all is in order.
The central leadership has been told that June is about to end and nominations will start in October. We have only three-four months to go to the voters with the promise of a better government,one which will take care of their welfare. But how are we supposed to do this without telling the voters who our leader is? They would like to see the candidate who will take on Sheila Dikshit. It is imperative that we do it now. We need to tell people to choose us,not the Sheila government, a senior BJP leader said.
Leaders from the Delhi unit,sources said,have briefed party president Rajnath Singh that party cadres want a chief ministerial candidate named well ahead of the elections.
Even when the party president was in Goa,he was made aware of the demand and the need to announce a CM candidate if the party has to win Delhi. Senior leaders have spoken to the party president on this issue, another senior BJP leader said.
By not announcing a chief ministerial candidate,the party has only fuelled speculation,the sources said,adding that leaders are worried this uncertainty will only confuse the cadres.
We believe the party has to choose the CM candidate carefully. The person should be accessible,impressive and one who has worked at the grassroots. People of Delhi should be able to relate to the candidate. If the central leadership wants us to win Delhi,they need to make the announcement soon, one of the leaders said.
Vijay Goel declined to comment on the issue. It is for the party to decide when to make the announcement, he said.