As it becomes more certain that former health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan will be the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) chief ministerial face, the crowd is slowly thinning out at Delhi chief Vijay Goel’s Pandit Pant Marg office.
Scores of party workers who used to keep Goel company were conspicuous by their absence at his office on Tuesday. Ticket-seekers, including some sitting councillors, too have done a volte-face. A number of them were seen making the rounds of Vardhan’s home in east Delhi’s Krishna Nagar, sources said.
Even on Monday when Goel had called a press meet, senior BJP leaders who used to make it a point to share the stage with him were not present at Constitution Club.
“A subdued Goel and the change in his tone and tenor in the Monday press conference helped the workers sense that his position was not very strong in the party these days. With Harsh Vardhan all set to become the chief ministerial candidate, it is but obvious that workers have shifted their attention to Krishna Nagar rather than the BJP office,” said a senior BJP leader.
Sources said a number of sitting MLAs who had so far not expressed their views on the issue were happy with the decision. “Earlier, only a few sitting MLAs were on Vardhan’s side, but after it became clear that he had the backing of the national leadership, a number of MLAs have been calling up to congratulate him,” said another leader.
On Monday, Goel tried hard to show that he was still in control and claimed that he along with other MLAs and senior leader would have a say in ticket distribution. However, party sources said Harsh Vardhan would have a bigger say in ticket allocation, which was another reason for the shift in loyalties.