Signalling a generational shift in its politics in Delhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party -- for the first time -- did not consider party stalwart VK Malhotra in panels set up to monitor elections in the city.
Malhotra, a member of the famed Punjabi triumverate of Khurana (Madan Lal), Sahni (Kedarnath) and Malhotra (VK), had been the most important leader of the BJP in Delhi and one of the founding members of the Jana Sangh in Delhi.
Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari constituted sub committees on Sunday to manage and supervise the April 22 MCD elections in Delhi. However, Malhotra was not named in any of them.
Malhotra, Madan Lal Khurana, and Kedarnath Sahni were born in Pakistan and had come to Delhi after partition.
Malhotra was the Chief Executive Councilor of Delhi’s Metropolitan Council in 1967 (a post equivalent to Chief Minister) and deputy leader of opposition in Lok Sabha in 2004. He was the only BJP Lok Sabha MP from Delhi in 2004. Malhotra was BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in the 2008 assembly elections that were won by the Congress.
Khurana was Delhi chief minister of Delhi between 1993 and 1996. He also served as the governor of Rajasthan. Khurana has been bed ridden for the past around six years due to poor health. He is credited for reviving the party after drubbing in 1984 general elections, held soon after the assassination of Indira Gandhi.
Sahni, a former Mayor (1972-75), passed away in October 2012 and served as governor of Sikkim and Goa during NDA rule.
“The decision proves a shift in the party. The way Prof Malhotra has been ignored, it establishes the fact that the BJP is handing over the reins to younger generation. They are following in footsteps of the central leadership, where ‘Marg Darshak’ mandal was created for LK Advani and other senior leaders,” a party leader said. This has left several old timers “sulking”, he said.
The party has also sidelined state media in-charge Praveen Shankar Kapoor who has not been nominated to the media committee. The committee has three general secretaries of state BJP -- Kuljeet Chahal, Rajesh Bhatia, Ravinder Gupta, and Neel Kant Bakshi, a close aide of Tiwari.
Tiwari announced on Monday the formation of 14 sub committees. The names of the members were decided at a late evening held on Sunday. However, suspense over the names continued till Monday evening as the list was kept on hold following the ‘report’ of possible resentment among some leaders.
All seven Lok Sabha MPs from Delhi, former state units chiefs, MLAs and other senior leaders have been nominated in a various committees such as manifesto, finance, publicity and campaign, road show-jansabha, election office management, social media, and call centre. A dedicated committee has also been formed to ‘expose failures of the Delhi government’.