Hundreds of angry BJP workers gathered outside the house of senior leader and the party’s chief minister candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra on Sunday to protest against the distribution of tickets.
The BJP announced candidates from 53 assembly seats on Saturday night. As the protest gathered momentum, news started doing the round that senior leader O.P. Kohli has resigned from the party’s state election committee, which was formed to shortlist candidates. This, however, turned out to be a rumour. “I have not resigned from the election committee. There were differences of opinion but the committee has already done what it had to do. There is no point in putting in my papers now,” said Kohli.
Differences between senior BJP leaders came out in the open when on Saturday night Kohli and former MP Vijay Goel walked out of the election committee meeting after their choice of candidates was not included in the final list.
“I wanted that the party select strong candidates. Others were not receptive to my recommendations. So there was no point in my sitting there,” Kohli said.
Goel was miffed after his recommended candidates for Shakurbasti, Ballimaran and Tri Nagar assembly seat were ignored. He could not be contacted for comment.
Party sources said the differences were also the reason why announcement on 13 seats was deferred. “There is a feeling that regional aspirations have not been given due representation in the list,” said a party leader.
Of the seats where announcement is yet to be made, Chandni Chowk and Sadar Bazar are the two most contentious. Goel wants Praveen Jain to contest from Chandni Chowk, V.K. Malhotra and Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan are in favour of giving ticket to traders’ association leader Praveen Khandelwal. From Sadar Bazar seat, Goel wants Jai Prakash to contest, while Malhotra is favouring former MLA Satish Jain.
The Vikaspuri assembly seat has also become a bone of contention. While actress Vani Tripathi’s name has been almost finalised, many want aK local candidate from the seat.