Even as the BJP is struggling to find the right candidates for the seven parliamentary constituencies in the Capital, what is striking this time around is the fact that there are no old party stalwarts in the reckoning for tickets.
The absence of old timers from the political fray has resulted in the party putting its focus on local leaders, which includes both legislators and councillors. “This vacuum has opened the doors for both BJP MLAs and municipal councillors to try their luck in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections,” said a BJP insider.
That 90s’ show
In the 1990s, there were a number of stalwarts in the party from Delhi. Prominent among them were senior leaders like V.K. Malhotra, Jagmohan and former Delhi chief minister Madan Lal Khurana. “It was the troika of Khurana, Malhotra and Kedar Nath Sahni who were behind the formation of the Jan Sangh in Delhi, which later became the BJP. They were considered the party’s mascots in Delhi,” said a senior BJP leader.
But none from the old brigade is in the running for the 15th Lok Sabha elections. While Khurana has been sidelined, Jagmohan and Malhotra are also not contesting this time.
Grooming the young
A section of BJP leaders said it was a blessing in disguise for the party. “It is the most opportune time for the party to groom a new set of leaders in the Capital. These young leaders can always bank on the wisdom and experience of the old brigade,” said a BJP insider.
Municipal councillors — Arti Mehra, Vijender Gupta and Meera Kanwaria — are vying for tickets from three constituencies. Local MLAs are also lobbying for tickets from two seats. These include Krishna Nagar MLA Harsh Vardhan and Janakpuri MLA Jagdish Mukhi.
The decision to consider local leaders for tickets to the Lok Sabha seats comes after the lack of them was felt in the last assembly elections in the Capital. The BJP had then refused to give tickets to municipal councillors. “After the humiliating defeat in the assembly elections, the party has realised its mistake. It has decided that local leaders - be it MLAs or councillors - have a stronger presence in their area and have more chances of winning,” said a senior BJP leader.