Some of the leaders considered BJP stalwarts in Delhi have been given a slip by party’s state president Vijay Goel in his new team, announced on Monday.
The rejig which comes just six months ahead of the state assembly elections did not consider Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was the party’s chief ministerial candidate in the last elections and the current leader of the Opposition, Jagdish Mukhi, a long-time legislator and seasoned Delhi hand, and Dr Harsh Vardhan, a former Delhi BJP president.
Other prominent Delhi BJP leaders who did not find a place on Goel’s new team are Vijay Jolly, former mayors Aarti Mehra and Rajni Abbi, and Harish Khurana and Pravesh Verma — sons of former chief ministers Madan Lal Khurana and Sahib Singh Verma.
However, Goel claimed the new team was a mix of experience and youth and was capable of taking over and ‘’defeating Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government’’ in upcoming elections.
According to party leaders, the new team of officer-bearers has representation from all sections of society. The team, said party leaders, has a balanced mix from urban and rural parts of the city, includes intellectual and the professional class as well as understands the city and its issues well.
The leaders said the new team has representation from all communities, including Vaish and Punjabi — considered BJP’s traditional vote bank, Poorvanchali and Uttaranchali — whose prominence in Delhi’s politics has increased in the past few years along with minorities and backward classes.
“The new team has members who have been working at the grassroots level and understand the issues well. It is a team that will expose the corrupt and inefficient Congress government before the people,” Goel said. Sitting MLAs Mohan Singh Bisht, Ramesh Bidhuri and Kulwant Rana have been inducted into the new team.
While the team may not have influence in the selection of candidates, Goel said it will certainly judge the performance of various aspirants for party tickets and will give their suggestion to the senior party leadership.
The exclusion of prominent Delhi leaders have sent ripples within the party leadership. “Some of the leaders included in the list do not have any standing within their respective communities. One sitting MLA, who was recently booked under the SC Act on complaint by his own party worker, has been accommodated. Some leaders have been unduly promoted because they are sycophants. Such actions send wrong message within the party. Eight vice-presidents have been changed,” a senior party leader said, requesting anonymity.