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Poised to form govt in Delhi, leadership crisis hits BJP

delhi Updated: Jun 18, 2014 01:16 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times
Delhi assembly elections

The leadership crisis, which many claim had hurt the party’s prospects in the last year’s Delhi assembly elections, is back to haunt the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Delhi.

And with the party slated to form the government in Delhi, infighting over its chief ministerial choice has become more intense. The issue had caused massive heartburns in the party last year and the central leadership had to intervene by appointing former party president Nitin Gadkari to bring peace among the warring factions. Krishna Nagar MLA Harsh Vardhan, who was named at the eleventh hour as the party’s CM pick, is now an MP and holds a cabinet post.

Unable to reach a consensus over the issue, the party seems to have now decided to talk to all its MLAs and nominees who had contested and lost to choose a person who is acceptable to the majority.

Sources said Janakpuri MLA Jagdish Mukhi enjoys support of the maximum legislators since he is the senior most party legislator and has extensive experience. However, his advanced age is the only thing that can go against him as some young members have raised objection over choosing a veteran over young leadership.

With Vardhan out of the picture, the name of Vijay Goel — who was heading the party ahead of the assembly polls — is also back in reckoning. Goel is now a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan.

Apart from Goel and Mukhi, names of Badarpur MLA Rambir Singh Bidhuri and New Delhi MP and party’s national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi are also doing the rounds.

“Harsh Vardhan was the consensus choice. But he is out of the race now. A number of MLAs have expressed reservation over the names of Bidhuri and Lekhi. They feel they should be consulted before a decision is taken,” said a senior BJP leader.

Party sources said top leaders will meet all MLAs and nominees individually. “BJP chief of Delhi affairs Prabhat Jha and Union minister Nitin Gadkari will hold the meetings. At this juncture, the party cannot afford infighting,” said another senior BJP leader.

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