SIX MONTHS after Lok Sabha MP from Northeast Delhi Manoj Tiwari took over as the Delhi unit chief of the BJP, stating that he will take everyone along by working on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan “sabka saath”, some signs of fissure in the party unit surfaced on Tuesday.
The differences among the top leaders came to the fore when Union Sports Minister Vijay Goel, himself a former Delhi BJP chief, invited party leaders from Delhi, including MPs, MLAs and councillors, at an event meant to welcome the new MCD councillors into the political system. The event was to be held on Tuesday evening.
Sources in the party claimed that Delhi unit chief Tiwari asked the councillors to give the event a miss. Explaining why Tiwari asked them to skip Goel’s event, a BJP leader said, “Only the party can call councillors – not a minister on his own without the consent of the party or its unit chief. Dr Harsh Vardhan had never called councillors despite being a minister.” But, the party leader said, Goel “has his own ambitions in Delhi”. Like Goel, Harsh Vardhan is a former Delhi BJP president and is at present a minister in the Modi Cabinet.
According to sources, a few close aides of Tiwari communicated to the councillors his message of skipping the event. The BJP recently got reelected to all three municipal corporations in Delhi, comfortably defeating the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, under Tiwari’s stewardship.
The new councillors, yet to learn the ways of the corporations, also found themselves divided between the “camps”. One newly elected councillor said, “What can we say? We were invited, so we came. This is also a party event – it is not against the party. The decision of asking councillors not to participate in the ‘samman samaroh’ has put us in a dilemma.” What is interesting, some of those who had opposed Goel when he was the party’s state unit chief are now said to be aligned with him.
Goel, however, said, “It was a programme that was meant to be clubbed with my ministry’s programme. Why should anyone have problem in that?”