With Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) being routed in Delhi, the political fate of the party's chief ministerial candidate Vijay Kumar Malhotra has also become uncertain.
Will Malhotra stay in Delhi Assembly and opt for position of Leader of Opposition or will he retain his Lok Sabha seat? BJP insiders said it is upto the party's central leadership to decide on Malhotra's political future.
Despite the party losing in Delhi, Malhotra won from the Greater Kailash assembly seat against Congress' Jitendra Kumar Kochhar with a margin of 11,218 votes.
In 2003, the BJP was in a similar situation when the party lost Delhi to the Congress. At that time veteran BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana was named the party's CM candidate. Khurana, who was already the party MP from Delhi Sadar, also won the assembly seat from Moti Nagar. But after the BJP was routed in the Capital, he had to resign from both his assembly and Lok Sabha seats and was instead made Rajasthan governor.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after the results were announced, Malhotra, while conceding defeat, said, "I am taking responsibility for the party's poor performance in the Capital."
Party insiders, however, said it would be only after the central committee's meeting that a final call on Malhotra's political future would be taken. "Nothing has been decided as yet - if he would retain his Lok Sabha seat and contest again from the New Delhi Parliamentary seat in 2009," said a senior BJP leader.
Senior leaders, on condition of anonymity, however, said the result should be a wake up call for the party to put its Delhi house in order. "It is about time that the party starts grooming young leaders who can take on leadership roles," said a BJP leader.
Before being named BJP's CM candidate, Malhotra, a Member of Parliament from south Delhi, was the BJP's deputy leader in the Lok Sabha.
Asked about his next move, Malhotra said, "I have not decided as yet. Whatever the party leadership decides, I will abide by it."