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Delhi BJP gets Gadkari boost

delhi Updated: Jul 20, 2013 00:17 IST
Atul Mathur

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), apparently worried about losing the plot in the run-up to Delhi Assembly elections, has handed over control of the Delhi wing of the party to former party president Nitin Gadkari.

Celebrity cricketer and Lok Sabha MP Navjyot Singh Sidhu will assist Gadkari, a statement from the party read.

Interestingly, instead of anointing Gadkari as “in-charge” of the party affairs in Delhi, BJP President Rajnath Singh said Gadkari would have special focus on the Delhi Assembly elections.

Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel expressed happiness over Gadkari’s appointment. “Our hands have been strengthened with his appointment,” he said.

Sources said the leadership was worried over reports of growing factionalism in the Delhi unit of the party, especially after the appointment of Vijay Goel as Delhi president.

Several Delhi leaders, including leader of the Assembly Vijay Kumar Malhotra, former Delhi chief Vijender Gupta and Dr Harshwardhan, former mayor and general secretary Aarti Mehra and former MLA Vijay Jolly have on more than one occasion expressed their discontentment over the ways and methods in which Goel managed things.

Some of these leaders had even stopped sharing the dais with Goel.

Goel did not include any of these leaders when he announced his team.

“The party leadership understood that growing dissent among some of the popular Delhi leaders could harm the party’s chances in the upcoming Assembly elections. They wanted to appoint someone who could bring the disgruntled leaders back to the party fold and strike a balance. That is why despite his reluctance, the party has given the responsibility to Gadkariji,” a senior party leader said requesting anonymity.

BJP’s worry with growing factionalism in Delhi was also palpable at the national executive meeting in Goa last month. Sources said both party president Rajnath Singh and campaign cell head Narendra Modi were seen talking to Delhi leaders individually to understand the pulse of the Capital.

“Rajnath Singhji had openly shown his worry about Congress’ 15-year-long rule in Delhi state and had asked disgruntled leaders and state party leadership to join hands and go into the polls as a cohesive unit,” a senior party leader said.

The party’s worries increased recently with the reports of a number of minority cell workers severing ties with it.