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Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, October 23, 2013
One hour before the parliamentary board of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced the name of Harsh Vardhan as its chief ministerial candidate, Delhi unit president Vijay Goel held a meeting with the party workers asking them to keep calm. At around 10.45am, Goel reached the party’s Pandit Pant Marg office where a booth level meeting had been organised and all the party workers were present.

According to a party official, Goel said, “The moment that you had been waiting for has come and Harsh Vardhan will be BJP’s chief ministerial candidate”.

While Goel was still unhappy with the decision, he cautioned the workers not to create a scene at the Ashoka Road office when the announcement was made. The official said Goel has reportedly entered into an agreement with the senior leadership.

According to the alleged deal, Goel will be nominated to the Rajya Sabha and will not contest the Delhi elections. “He has suggested his wife’s name for the Model Town seat. While senior leaders have assured him on the matter, a final decision will be taken by election in-charge Nitin Gadkari,” said the BJP leader.

After getting instructions from the high command in the morning, Goel made his way to the party headquarter where apart from two of his aides, none of the senior BJP leaders were present.

At the Pandit Pant office when he was asked to give his reaction on Harsh Vardhan’s elevation, he said “Harsh nahi bahut harsh hoga. I am going to the Ashoka Road office and will give you a quote after that”.

Goel kept a brave face after the announcement and claimed he is still leading the party. “I am the party president and I will lead the BJP to ensure it emerges victorious in Delhi. I am a disciplined soldier of the party and whatever is the party’s stand I will go by that. I have been in politics for the past 40 years. I had made it clear in a press conference held two days back that I was not in the race for the chief ministerial candidate’s post,” said Goel.

According to speculation, Goel lost his chance at leading the party in assembly polls due to factionalism in the party. “The entire in-fighting was a creation of the media and nothing else,” Goel said refuting the claims.

While interacting with the media, his supporters were trying to emphasise the fact that he still holds an important party post and clapped whenever he said, “I am still leading the party”.