BJP dithers on Delhi CM candidate, Amit Shah rally cancelled

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 18, 2015 10:30 IST

With less than three weeks to go for the elections, the Delhi BJP seems to be in disarray and the cancellation of party president Amit Shah’s rally in Pushp Vihar on Saturday is being seen as yet another sign that all isn’t well.

Confusion over the chief ministerial candidate and lack of movement on candidate selection has created chaos in the city unit, BJP sources said. The induction of Kiran Bedi has made matters murkier as she is being positioned as the face of the party without officially being named its CM pick.

“Amit Shahji was supposed to address party workers in south Delhi at 1pm today, but the request for police clearance was sent to the district election office only in the morning. Naturally, the permission didn’t come on time. At a time when the party should be putting its best foot forward, such mistakes only indicate lack of coordination. It caused major embarrassment to the state unit,” said a senior BJP leader.

The BJP president did manage to address Delhi voters in the end with the clearance for what was to be his second rally, in Hari Nagar at 5pm, coming through.

The BJP is still the party to beat in the February 7 polls, and is ahead of the rival Aam Aadmi Party in surveys. But the lack of clarity with just 18 days of campaigning left is making party workers increasingly confused and de-motivated, sources said.

On the other hand, BJP leaders pointed out, AAP and Congress have already declared their candidates, many of whom have started campaigning and filed their nominations. For the December 2013 polls, the BJP had wrapped up its candidate selection a month in advance.

The fight for Delhi is crucial for the BJP and a win here would cap off a brilliant run in assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and J&K. But senior party leaders are worried the selection chaos could affect the results.

The sources said even those former MLAs confident of getting tickets are restless. “How can they start campaigning when they have not been made the party candidate so far? When you go out campaigning asking for votes, who do you pitch for,” asked a senior BJP leader.

Shah’s cancelled rally at Pushp Vihar could take place another day. “We didn’t receive permission and didn’t want to violate the rules, so we cancelled it. But we will be applying for fresh approval,” said Delhi BJP chief Satish Upadhyay.

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