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Factionalism is back to haunt the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Delhi unit.
Within a week of the appointment of the new party unit chief, Satish Upadhyay, cracks have appeared over some party MLAs approaching the Centre directly without consulting their new head.
Highly-placed sources in the party said Upadhyay was not taken into confidence by a delegation of party MLAs that met Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday. Senior party leaders pointed out that usually in all interactions with the national leadership, the party chief is kept in the loop.
Sources said a number of MLAs were unhappy over the elevation of first-time councillor Upadhyay and a number of factions had emerged within the party. With re-elections still a big possibility, this could affect the party’s prospects, sources said.
In the run-up to the 2013 assembly elections in Delhi, factionalism and infighting touched an all-time high and the party high command had to intervene. Gadkari was sent to manage the affairs of the party, since many senior leaders were not happy with then Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel.
The party, despite several rounds of deliberations, could not reach a consensus on a chief ministerial candidate till the eleventh hour. The party believes this hurt its chances in the assembly elections. The BJP won 32 seats, just four short of a simple majority in the 70-member Delhi assembly.
“His name had come as a surprise for many and senior MLAs and MPs are not happy. Senior leaders have been ignored. A number of them are of the view that Upadhyay is not able to take decisions related to the concerns raised by MLAs and MPs. This has only led to infighting as senior leaders are not ready to listen to him,” said a senior BJP leader.
“In the past, very senior leaders were given the task of managing the state unit of the party. Be it Vijay Goel, who is a Rajya Sabha MP now, or Harsh Vardhan who is now union health minister. Even Vijender Gupta was standing committee chairman of the unified MCD and had contested the Lok Sabha elections. However, this is probably the first time that a person who is a first-time councillor has been given such a big task. A number of leaders are upset over this and it has also demoralised them,” said another senior party leader.