BJP to announce Delhi election candidates today; speculation rife over Kiran Bedi as CM nominee

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 19, 2015 13:02 IST

All eyes are on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp, which is likely to announce its candidates for the Delhi assembly elections on Monday.

The much-awaited list is likely to be made public after the BJP's Central Election Committee meeting where senior leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah are expected to deliberate on the poll strategy.

Speculations are rife that former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Kiran Bedi would be picked as the saffron party's chief ministerial candidate.

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.

However, with less than three weeks to go for the elections, the Delhi BJP seems to be in disarray, and has been dogged by infighting and lack of clarity. A south Delhi rally by Shah had to be cancelled on Saturday due to lack of coordination in the party's city unit.

Confusion over the CM nominee and lack of movement on candidate selection has created chaos in the city unit, BJP sources said.

According to a section of party leaders, the induction of Bedi has made matters murkier as she is being positioned as the face of the party without officially being named its CM pick.

However, another section feels the BJP now has a prominent face in Delhi who can woo the youth, women, middle-class and service class as well as Sikh voters in the national capital.

BJP parliamentarian (Northeast Delhi) and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari said the local unit will work with the person chosen as the CM pick by the high command.

"Party is doing well. We are happy that people are joining us. We will all fight with 'Chalo Chale Modi' slogan."

BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi said, "People in Delhi have three options: corrupt Congress, anarchist AAP or BJP, which does work."

The BJP is still the party to beat in the polls, and is ahead of the rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in surveys. But the lack of clarity with is making party workers increasingly confused and de-motivated, sources said.

On the other hand, BJP leaders pointed out, the AAP and the 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.

Elections to 70-member Delhi assembly will be held on February 7 and results would be announced on February 10. Nominations can be filed up to January 22.

The BJP is likely to contest majority of the total of 70 seats, leaving some to its ally Akali Dal. Last time, it had fought for 66 seats and gave four to Akali Dal.

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