On the face of it, Puran Chand Yogi, sitting MLA from Rajinder Nagar, had everything going for him. A committed party worker, the septuagenarian had won from the same Assembly seat thrice — in 1993, 1998 and 2003.
The Punjabi-dominated seat was a BJP stronghold and the party high command had reposed faith in him by giving him ticket for the fourth consecutive time from the same seat.
Though he was comfortably placed in the seat, a section of party workers close to him said a nagging apprehension of losing elections was troubling the senior leader.
Party insiders, who did not want to be named, said this self-doubt could be the reason behind Yogi taking the extreme step. “There was lot of pressure on him to prove himself the fourth time. He used to say that since the party has reposed faith in him again he could not fail them,” said a party insider.
Compounding the problem was the fact that during the initial ticket distribution process, he was not the popular choice for the seat. “He was given the ticket as the BJP had decided to repeat all its 19 sitting MLAs. During the meetings held to discuss ticket distribution, a section of party leaders wanted young candidates to be given ticket from the seat,” said a party insider.
Yogi was an old party hand. He had held several positions in the party’s district office in Karol Bagh during the late 80s and early 90s. “But he was finding it a bit difficult to mobilise district level workers for campaigning. A section of party workers from the district had recently also expressed doubt about his chances of winning,” said another party worker who did not want to be named.
Yogender Chandolia, a BJP councillor and deputy chairman in MCD standing committee said, “He sounded normal when he spoke to me in the morning at about 7 a.m. but off late he was a bit tense. He was a close friend and spoke to me almost every day. Though I kept reassuring him that he would win, he was getting a bit worked up about coordinating the campaign logistics.”