They canvassed for months like winners even before they got a ticket to contest. But in the end, BJP heavyweights who missed the bus by a whisker on Thursday were left licking their wounds with a smile only seasoned politicians could muster.
Friday will be like any other day for Delhi Mayor Aarti Mehra. But for Mehra, the “Dark Horse” in the running for a ticket to the New Delhi parliamentary seat, it will not be the same.
Her smiling face graced the walls of outdoor ad spaces in South Delhi. Her messages greeting voters set thousands of mobile phones ringing. Her supporters and pet political mathematicians told her that post-delimitation, the New Delhi constituency was nothing but an extension of all those South Delhi areas where she was a force to reckon with, so it made sense to field her. Sycophants told her that since she had brought the BJP back to power at the municipal corporation a year ago, a ticket was her natural reward. Eventually, all that proved pointless.
“The decision-makers in the party came under certain pressure. But I respect their decision. It's politics,” Mehra said after conceding the race to party senior Vijay Goel.
“End of the day, I will vote for the BJP's victory but the party heads should also decide if they set a good precedence by buckling under undue pressure tactics,” she said, not taking any names.
If Mehra had her political correctness more or less intact, BJP's Parvesh Verma, son of late chief minister of Delhi Sahib Singh Verma, who wanted to stand from the West Delhi seat, was in no mood for circumlocution. “I am speechless. I have no clue why I did not get the ticket,” he said.
After his father, the BJP’s Jat poster-boy in Outer Delhi, was killed in a car crash, Parvesh, although a greenhorn, was the obvious successor.
The pundits had also said that his chances had increased because the BJP did not have a strong -enough name to garner the Jat votes. “A few people at the top thought it best to deny me ticket. I don't know if it will be a winning strategy, that’s it,” he said on Thursday.
Will the band of disgruntled heavyweights ruin the party's chances? “They could play a crucial role on the day of reckoning,” said Dipankar Gupta, political analyst at the Jawaharlal Nehru University
“Urban seats will be prone to internal strife. It's not easy managing displeased heavyweights.”