Vijay Goel's front runner claim irks party leadership

  • Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Oct 18, 2013 11:29 IST

Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel’s decision to call a press conference and make claims that he was a popular leader and a front runner in the party for the chief ministerial candidate seems to irked the party’s top leadership.

Sources said the party was unhappy with Goel’s comments and has asked him to focus on the upcoming elections. A number of Goel supporters — the office bearers in several districts and zones of the party — who went to meet party president Rajnath Singh and Delhi in-charge Nitin Gadkari were “sternly told” to work to strengthen the party and leave the decision of who will be the CM candidate to the parliamentary board of the party.

“Gadkari has categorically told them that with the elevation of Narendra Modi, the stature of Rajnath Singh has not diminished,” a senior party leader said. Sources said the party is unhappy as its door-to-door campaign, which was to start on Thursday, was severely affected because of the rumblings within the party.

Goel, on Wednesday, citied several poll surveys to drive the point that the party should consider him for the top job in Delhi. The ruling Congress party is facing anti-incumbency this time and the BJP whiffs a real chance to come back to power in Delhi after 15 years.

Though the party has not declared the chief ministerial candidate there is speculation that it may decide in favour of four-time MLA Dr Harsh Vardhan who is considered to be a consensus candidate.

A section of leaders believe that Goel, who has been credited with leading the BJP’s campaign against the Congress over the past eight months, should rather get a chance.

Sources said the infighting within the party has worried party’s chief campaigner and prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

“There is a strong possibility some top Delhi leaders will be offered tickets to contest the Lok Sabha elections next year to mitigate the infighting,” a senior BJP leader said.

 

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