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BJP racing against time to finalise candidates in New Delhi

india Updated: Mar 15, 2014 01:15 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Autocar India
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It is just 27 days before Delhi votes to elect its MPs and an indecisive BJP is still struggling to finalise its list of candidates for the Capital. Party sources, however, said the BJP will announce the candidates on Saturday.

The party is in a dilemma whether to consider the sitting MLAs or not since the Delhi Assembly continues to be in a state of suspended animation. The latest problem on its hands is persuading party MP from Patna Sahib, Shatrughan Sinha, to contest from Northeast Delhi — a seat with a sizeable number of immigrant population.

"He (Sinha) is reluctant to fight from Delhi and has sought to be re-nominated from Patna Sahib. But the party is trying to persuade him. Earlier, names of former MP Lal Bihari Tiwari, Vani Tripathi and Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari were being considered for the seat," said a senior BJP leader.

Another issue before the party is to choose between 'known' faces and local candidates. "If a party MLAs has registered a huge win from the seat, it means that he is popular in the area and is known to the locals. Then, choosing an outsider doesn't hold merit. There are a number of party workers who have been remained loyal to the party. They would obviously feel bad if the party chooses an outsider to represent them," said a senior BJP leader.

During the past 10 days, names of senior leaders and some 'known' faces such as Subramanian Swamy, Nirmala Sitharaman, Meenakshi Lekhi, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Udit Raj, Kiran Bedi, Maheish Girri and others have been doing the rounds but the party is yet to decide.

In the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009, the party had not won a single seat. In the absence of a clarity on candidates, party workers have not been able to campaign and reach out to voters. Another worry for the party is to remove the coordination gap between the party workers and local leaders.

"The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had declared the names of its candidates nearly six months ahead of the assembly elections and for Lok Sabha polls too it has made its choice clear. The BJP, for Assembly polls, faced a similar confusion over deciding candidates and came out with the list of nominees at the eleventh hour, which badly hit the campaign. Since the party is considering some new names, it must realise that unless they get enough time they would not be able to strike a chord with the voters," said a senior leader.