Vijay Kumar Malhotra was on Friday named the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly polls in Delhi, after a stalemate over two frontrunners could not be resolved. The BJP parliamentary board announced the 77-year-old leader’s name as there was a lack of consensus over former Union minister Vijay Goel and Delhi party chief Harsh Vardhan. Goel had the backing of BJP chief Rajnath Singh and Harsh Vardhan of Sushma Swaraj.
It was then that the party’s prime ministerial candidate LK Advani swung it in Malhotra’s favour.
Announcing Malhotra’s name, BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley said: “He is an acceptable and senior leader. He has the potential to lead the party... and emerge victorious.” Jaitley had earlier declined the party’s offer to be the candidate but he will take charge of poll management.
Goel skipped the press conference but Harsh Vardhan accompanied Malhotra and pledged support.
The Congress is yet to name its chief ministerial candidate for the polls, expected by December.
Malhotra had seniority in his favour. He has been around in Delhi politics for 40 years — since he became the member of the first municipal council in 1958. He also served as the chief executive councillor of Delhi (chief minister in protocol) during 1967-72.