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Power game on safe seats for BJP leaders

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 21, 2013
First Published: 00:47 IST(21/9/2013) | Last Updated: 02:58 IST(21/9/2013)

They have been striking a confident note at public rallies that they would wrest power from the Congress in Delhi but several senior BJP leaders do not seem to be sure about even their own electoral fortunes.

Read: BJP discusses challenge by AAP at its core committee meeting

Sources said many of them, including Delhi BJP unit chief Vijay Goel, are hunting for ‘safe seats’ — areas which are party bastions.

Apart from Goel, his predecessor Vijender Gupta, former legislator Vijay Jolly and former MLA Kirti Azad’s wife Poonam Azad are also looking for such seats. 

Party sources said with its sizeable population of Baniya votes, Shalimar Bagh is Goel’s first choice.

Former chief minister Sahib Singh Verma was elected from Shalimar Bagh in 1993. And from 1998 onwards, the seat is represented by BJP’s Ravindra Nath Bansal. However, Bansal may not vacate the seat for his boss, sources said.

The other option for Goel is Model Town — a seat where Congress scored consecutive wins in the past three elections.

But the Delhi BJP chief has a family connection here.

Goel’s father Charhti Lal, the first speaker of the re-constituted assembly, was elected from Model Town in 1993.

“I will contest from wherever my party asks me to. I don’t have a personal preference,” Goel said.

Vijender Gupta — who led his party to a sweeping victory in the 2012 municipal polls — is facing a similar dilemma. Gupta wants to contest from Rohini, from where he was a councillor between 2002 and 2007.

The Rohini seat came into existence after the delimitation in 2008. It was earlier part of the Badli constituency.

BJP’s Jai Bhagwan Aggarwal was the four-time MLA from Badli between 1993 and 2003.

He won from Rohini in 2008. He is looking to win his fifth election from the same seat. Shakur Basti, said sources, is another seat that Gupta may like to file his nomination from provided sitting MLA Shyam Lal Garg agrees to vacate it.

For Vijay Jolly, who took on chief minister Sheila Dikshit in New Delhi in 2008 but lost, finding a safe seat seems to be an uphill task. Sources said Jolly is eyeing Malviya Nagar and Greater Kailash — both of which have a sizeable number of Punjabi voters.

While Greater Kailash is represented by leader of the opposition Vijay Kumar Malhotra and is likely to go to his son Ajay this time, former Mayor Aarti Mehra is keen on contesting against Delhi minister Kiran Walia from Malviya Nagar.

Sources said the BJP may not field Jolly and instead give him the party ticket from South Delhi constituency in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Former television actress and BJP national executive member Vani Tripathi is likely to contest from Vikaspuri.

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