The BJP's session to elicit opinion of its workers in finalising the candidate for Lok Sabha polls from the city became a free-for-all session as a number of workers of different groups hurled abuses at each other and exchanged blows at the workers' convention held at the Punjab BJP office in Sector 37 on Wednesday.
The convention was called by party affairs incharge, Chandigarh, Aarti Mehra wherein she wanted the opinion of city workers on party candidates.
Besides three local three leaders - Satya Pal Jain Harmohan Dhawan and city BJP chief Sanjay Tandon, the party included the name of Kirron Kher in the list. As a fifth option, the workers were free to name the candidate of their choice.
The party had called nearly 400 workers to know their views. All these workers were those who have been office-bearers in the state and district executives of the party of the years 2007, 2010 and 2013.
As soon as the meet started around 4pm, it was announced from the stage that those workers who had not been invited should leave the venue. Some of the workers who felt offended came out of the meet and started raising slogans and hurling abuses at other workers.
As the situation turned bad, BJP's organisational general secretary Ajay Jamwal had to leave the meet and pacify the workers. It took him half an hour to pacify them.
During Mehra's speech wherein she detailed about the process the party was to adopt to finalise the candidate, when she was about to conclude her speech, some of the leaders entered into an argument over the process, resulting in abrupt ending of the meet, sources said.
The sources added that leaders belonging to the Dhawan group and Jain group were arguing that many of those in the meet were of Tandon group and the party's move was not rational.
Some leaders, including deputy mayor Davesh Moudgil and party's national SC cell office-bearer Narendra Chaudhary, tried to go to stage upon which they were stopped by one Gurpreet Dhillon and some other leaders.
Soon the scuffle started in which some leaders exchanged blows in front of top leadership. Many of the workers left the meet hurling abuses in front of women delegates and raised slogans as they claimed that Chaudhary was disrespected.Seeing the entire drama, Mehra called off the meet.
Speaking to HT, Mehra admitted that the meet ended on a bad note and some of the workers created problem."Our idea was to take views of our workers on the candidate. We have other options of taking their views," she said.When asked whether the party would hold workers convention again, she refused to comment and said the party would take a call on that.During the entire drama, besides Mehra, Tandon, Jain, Dhawan and Jamwal were sitting on the stage.
RIFT Paves Way for Kher's Name
Infighting among city leaders might have forced the BJP high command to look for a suitable candidate from outside. Many in the workers' meet were surprised after the announcement that Kirron Kher's name on which the workers had to give their vote. It has been learnt that her name had come from the party high command.
Sources in the party said her name came as three top leaders have been constantly fighting with each other and high command must have thought that they might spoil the party's chance to win seat this time as well. Kher, though belongs to city, has been constantly denying that she would be the party candidate from Chandigarh.
Women workers misbehaved with
Women party workers complained that they were misbehaved with by the party leaders. Some of the female workers were busy with the registration process and checking as to who all were to be allowed to enter the venue. Colony cell chief Anil Dubey, who was recently expelled for anti-party activity, entered into a verbal duel with a female party worker, Asha Jaswal. Jaswal alleged that he snatched party badges from her as she could not find names of some of his supporters in the list. Following the heated exchange of words between him and female workers, the registration counters were winded up.