The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi, which was expected to be out by February 27, is likely to get delayed at least till mid-March.
According to sources, a number of issues are causing the delay, including a decision on whether the party should field sitting MLAs or not.
A senior BJP leader said the party was yet to reach a consensus over fielding sitting MLAs as there was no clarity over re-elections in Delhi and whether they would be held along with the Lok Sabha elections.
The party said the issue was still under discussion even as AAP announced the names of two candidates.
“Winnability will be the main criteria for selection of candidates. The party is yet to take a call on whether we will field sitting MLAs or not. We are taking feedback from the workers and are getting surveys done to help us finalise the names,” said Prabhat Jha, organisation in charge of Delhi BJP.
“We are hoping to come out with the list by March 15. We are in no hurry unlike the AAP as we follow a procedure,” he said. Senior BJP leaders said rather than the youth, the party was planning to field experienced hands for the Lok Sabha elections.
Sources said the party had initially told its Delhi MLAs that they would not be considered for the Lok Sabha elections because the party was hoping to form the government in Delhi. “We were hopeful that we will be able to form the government. But we had to sit in the opposition. It is better to fight the Lok Sabha elections and become an MP than being an MLA and sit in the Opposition in Delhi,” sources said, quoting some MLAs.
Sources said that the confusion over nomination of sitting MLAs started after former Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel told a meeting of the election committee that the MLAs could be considered for the job.
Jha, who has taken over the post recently, said the party was all geared up for the elections and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will be in Delhi for campaigning. “Even though we have drubbed the Congress in the recent assembly elections in four states, we are not taking either the Congress and or the AAP lightly,” he said.
The BJP had won 32 seats in the Delhi Assembly elections and despite being the single largest party refused to form the government.