The BJP Sunday declared candidates for four of the seven Lok Sabha constituencies in the capital, which featured names of its sitting MPs — Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari from North East; Parvesh Verma from West; Ramesh Bidhuri from South; and Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan from Chandni Chowk.
According to a senior leader, these four seats were the “easiest to decide” as top leaders were not keen on making changes, irrespective of whether the Congress and AAP formed an alliance in the capital or not.
On the decision to field sitting MPs, another senior leader said: “Tiwari is our Purvanchali face. As party president, he has given results by helping the BJP win in MCD elections. Since he joined the party, our presence in the media has also increased.”
“Bidhuri and Verma are Gujjar and Jat leaders; the BJP would have given a ticket each to leaders from these two communities… Also, their performance was satisfactory so we gave them a second chance instead of fielding fresh faces,” he added. “In Dr Harsh Vardhan’s case, there were discussions last month to give him a ticket from East Delhi, where he has been an MLA several times. But the party felt he is the best candidate to win Chandni Chowk,” the leader said.
On the remaining three seats, sources said the party is likely to change its candidates. According to party sources, reasons vary from waiting for the opposition’s final decision on an alliance to the RSS and BJP leadership not being satisfied with performance.
Sources said that for New Delhi, cricketer Gautam Gambhir is being considered along with incumbent MP Meenakshi Lekhi. For East Delhi, names of BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal, an AAP rebel leader, and incumbent MP Maheish Girri are being considered. From the North West seat, incumbent MP Udit Raj and former mayor Anita Arya are being considered. Click here for more election news
Meanwhile, the MPs who have been fielded again said they are sure of winning, irrespective of an AAP-Congress alliance.
Verma said, “I was already in campaign mode, now I will take it to the next level. The alliance doesn’t make a difference to us as CM Arvind Kejriwal has exposed himself in the drama he has created over the past month… he has shown himself as someone indecisive, whom people should not trust.”
Bidhuri said, “AAP created propaganda by coming out with reports on me. I now invite (AAP leader) Gopal Rai and Kejriwal to the Constitution Club, where I will present my report card…” “We will go to the public and expose how Kejriwal has stopped several policies, including Ayushman Bharat, which would have benefited people of Delhi,” said Tiwari.