Less than 24 hours after the candidature of 58-year-old actor Kirron Kher, the quintessential Bollywood mummy, was announced from Chandigarh by the Bharatiya Janata Party, protests broke out in the local unit of the party on Sunday.
Demanding a roll back of the decision, the workers protested against the candidature of Kher.
The party workers demanded ticket for any of three local leaders - BJP Chandigarh unit chief Sanjay Tandon, senior leaders Harmohan Dhawan and Satyapal Jain - who were top contenders.
The workers gathered outside the party office in Sector 33 and Dhawan's residence in Sector 9. They also burnt an effigy of Kher at Transport Light Point, Sector 26, on Sunday evening. Protests were also held at Colony Number 4 during the day. The party workers said senior party leadership will have to change its decision.
The supporters of local BJP unit chief Sanjay Tandon rushed to Delhi to express solidarity with their leader. Even though Dhawan and Tandon, on record, said they would support the party decision, their supporters could be seen in an agitated mood. All the leaders denied any association with the protests in the city.
However, the party workers said they will not work for the candidate who is an outsider. "When the candidate is not based in the city, how will the workers approach her for the day to day works?" they said.
BJP Kisan Morcha president Jhujhar Singh Badheri said, "If Kirron Kher will contest from Chandigarh, I will resign from my post. I will not work for the party."
Another party worker, Pappu Shukla, in Sector 45 said, "Kher has always stayed away from entering rural areas. How will she work for the colonies and slums?"
However, Satyapal Jain and his supporters did not object to Kher's candidature from the city.
Kher is pitted against four-time member of Parliament Pawan Kumar Bansal, who is contesting the election for seventh time now, and actress Gul Panag of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Efforts to contact BJP affairs in-charge for Chandigarh, Aarti Mehra remained futile.
Local unit vice-president resigns
Following the allotment of party ticket to Kirron Kher, BJP's local unit vice-president Ramvir Bhatti has resigned from his post. Bhatti said the decision of the party to field an outsider was not acceptable. Kisan Morcha president Jhujhar Singh Badheri has also tendered his resignation.