The majority view within the Bharatiya Janata Party’s leadership appears to be veering towards forming a government in Delhi with the support of turncoat Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators who have sent feelers to the party.
If a decision is indeed taken to form a government, two lawmakers have emerged as favourites for the chief minister’s job: Badarpur MLA Rambir Singh Bidhuri and Janakpuri MLA Prof Jagadish Mukhi. A section of the party and the RSS is lobbying for former Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel, now a Rajya Sabha MP from Rajasthan, and the name of New Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi is also doing the rounds.
The state assembly is under suspended animation and Delhi under President’s rule after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal resigned as CM on February 14 after 49 days in the job.
“The majority view is in favour of forming a government. Even most of the legislators do not want fresh elections,” a BJP leader privy to developments told HT. Decisions on Delhi and the new president of the BJP Delhi unit are likely to be taken after a series of meetings this week. State president Harsh Vardhan is now a Union minister in the Modi cabinet at the Centre.
Bidhuri, a former chief of the Nationalist Congress Party’s Delhi unit who crossed over to the BJP on the eve of the assembly elections, enjoys the support of about a dozen BJP legislators and has promised to rope in at least six Congress MLAs if needed. But party leaders doubt his ability to take along other factions within the party.
Mukhi is a non-controversial figure equally acceptable to all factions, but has his limitations when it comes to running such a government.
“Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was our CM candidate in the last election and has now joined the central government, is not returning to state politics. That leaves us with a need to find a new face for the party, who would not only manage to run the government but also be a strong contender in front of Kejriwal and others in case of a fresh election,” another BJP leader said.
Sources said Goel has his backers in a section of the party and its ideological parent, the RSS, but faces equally strong opposition from powerful leaders in the central and Delhi units of the party. Lekhi is seen as a ‘fresh and urbane’ face of Delhi, but has no experience in State politics.