With a month left for the April 22 municipal elections, ‘sulking’ sitting councillors of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi have opened a front against the party.
Resentment was brewing ever since state BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on March 14 announced the party’s decision to deny tickets to all sitting members of the three municipal corporations.
Upping the ante against the party’s decision, 118 councillors on Tuesday met at the Civic Centre to build pressure on the national leadership to reverse its decision.
The BJP has 152 councillors in the three corporations. With the party’s decision, the political future of many municipal veterans such as Subhash Arya (leader of house in south Delhi municipal corporation), Mahendra Nagpal (former education committee chairman), Yogender Chandolia (former North Delhi mayor), Shailender Singh Monty (chairman, standing committee, south Delhi), Pravesh Vahi (chairman, standing committee, North Delhi corporation), and VP Pandey (leader of house, north Delhi corporation) hangs in the balance.
Many of them have been members for two terms and a few like Arya has been winning municipal elections since 1997 when the unified corporation was formed.
Sources said the councillors held discussions for about six hours to decide the course of action if the central leadership refuses to go back. A councillor present in the meeting said ‘disgruntled’ elected members are even considering floating a new party.
“I was called by the leader of the House. When I reached there, I came to know about the matter. They were all very upset and wanted the decision to be immediately withdrawn,” said a north Delhi councillor .
A south Delhi councillor said some members felt they would go ahead as independent candidates or under the banner of a new political outfit.
After the meeting, the councillors reportedly met Vijay Goel, minister of youth affairs and sports and Delhi MPs Maheish Girri (east Delhi) and Parvesh Verma (west Delhi), seeking their intervention. They are also trying to meet former BJP presidents M Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari.
“A few senior councillors had met national president Amit Shah on Monday but they were clearly told that the decision was taken after proper deliberation and it would not be changed,” said a councillor.
VP Pandey, leader of house North Corporation, said, “ We respect the high command but it would have better if the party had given an opportunity to councillors who have done well .”