Reeling under protests by party workers for fielding a weak candidate against Arvinder Singh Lovely, Congress leader and sitting MLA from Gandhi Nagar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday dropped party nominee from the seat, Kalpana Jain.
The new candidate from the seat is Kamal Jain, one of the BJP’s block president from Gandhi Nagar. Though the decision seems to have pacified a section of party workers from east Delhi, the move did not go down well with members of party’s women cell.
Members of Mahila Morcha have been protesting since the last few days against the poor representation of female candidates in the party's list.
As against six female candidates in the Congress list, the BJP had earlier named just four women candidates — former MP Anita Arya from Patel Nagar, Talat Sultana from Matia Mahal, Kamaljeet Sherawat from Matiala and Kalpana Jain from Gandhi Nagar. Now with Jain gone, only three female candidates have been left in the fray.
Jain, who is a member of the Mahila Morcha, called the party’s decision unfair. “If I was weak candidate, why did the party give me a ticket in the first place. It just shows the party’s double standards. They do not want women leaders to come forward. It’s very humiliating,” she said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan, Delhi BJP state president, however, said, “We also did not want to drop a female candidate but Kalpana Jain herself approached us and expressed her desire to withdraw from the fray. Party workers in the area were also not very happy on her nomination, as she does not live in the constituency. They wanted a local party worker to contest. So we decided to field Kamal Jain. The decision to replace her was unanimous and in everybody’s interest.”
Asked if she was dropped as she was considered a weak candidate, he said, “She was under tremendous pressure to defeat Lovely. It was taking a toll on her. She discussed the matter with me, Sushma Swaraj and VK Malhotra and expressed her inability to contest.”