A day after the BJP released the first list of 62 candidates and named Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial face, the party struggled to keep its house in order as protests broke out across the city against the ticket distribution process.
Disgruntled supporters of Satish Upadhyay and other leaders protested at the BJP’s Pandit Pant Marg office and other parts of Delhi, demanding tickets for them.
Upadhyay’s supporters accused the leadership of sidelining him even as he tried to pacify them. They demanded that he should be fielded from Mehrauli or Malviya Nagar.
“This is not the time to protest. We should not be indulging in all this as our aim is to win the elections. I am contesting from all the 70 seats and we have to ensure that we win by a clear majority under Kiran Bediji’s leadership,” Upadhyay told his supporters.Many asked Upadhyay to resign but he said he had willingly opted out of the race and had conveyed his decision to the central leadership. "It is I who decided not to contest. The parliamentary board asked me and I told them my decision," he said.
Angry protestors defaced Kiran Bedi’s face on a poster after the BJP released the first list of 62 candidates and named her as the CM candidate. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)
Supporters of other leaders —including those of former Delhi CM Madan Lal Khurana’s son Harish Khurana who was hoping to contest from the Hari Nagar seat— who did not get a ticket also protested. Delhi BJP vice-president Sikha Rai’s supporters openly criticised senior leaders.
At places, the police had to intervene as the protests took and ugly turn and some protestors heckled Upadhyay.
“People from other parties who joined the BJP a few days back managed a ticket whereas workers working for so long have been sidelined. This is injustice,” said Vinod Kumar, who was protesting for Abhay Verma, who had contested last time.
Party sources said protests might continue till the date of nomination is over as changes in the names can be made till then.
Protests broke out in Rohini against BJP candidate Vijender Gupta as supporters of Jai Bhagwan Aggarwal, who had lost the 2013 elections by a narrow margin, demanded a change in candidature from the seat.
Senior party workers such as Dhir Singh Bidhuri, who was aspiring for a ticket from Okhla seat, have resigned.