Delhi Elections 2020: Former MLAs, mayors, sitting councillors figure in BJP’s first list
Delhi Elections 2020: Of the 57 candidates, 37 had contested in the 2013 and 2015 assembly elections. The party has also fielded 15 first-timers.Updated: Jan 18, 2020 04:16 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday announced its first list of 57 candidates for the Delhi assembly elections scheduled for February 8.
While the party has relied majorly on former legislators and sitting/former councillors, conspicuous in their absence were the names of Muslim candidates. The party, which always fielded at least one Muslim, from Matia Mahal, broke away from tradition and gave the ticket in that constituency to Delhi BJP’s general secretary Ravinder Gupta.
With the first list, the party has made an effort to retain its core vote bank in the middle-class and rural segments and had also fielded more Purvanchali candidates this time in an effort to make a dent in the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s strongholds in unauthorised colonies.
Of the 57 candidates, 37 had contested in the 2013 and 2015 assembly elections. The party has also fielded 15 first-timers.
The party has given tickets to 15 former MLAs who had won in 2013 and 2015. While all three MLAs who won in 2015— Vijender Gupta, Jagdish Pradhan and OP Sharma — will be seeking re-election from their respective constituencies, the party has fielded former MLAs who had won from Wazirpur, Narela, Matiala, Najafgarh, Rajendra Nagar, among other constituencies, which have a sizeable population of middle-class and rural voters. Gupta and Sharma are seeking re-election from Rohini and Vishwas Nagar, respectively. Both the constituencies have a sizeable middle-class population.
The party, which got 33.07% votes in the 2013 elections, had managed to retain its vote share of 32.2% in the 2015 elections, despite the AAP walking away with 67 of 70 seats. The party is banking on its core vote bank in middle-class and rural areas this time as well. The party is also hoping that the Centre’s decision to give ownership rights to residents of 1,731 unauthorised colonies will help them make inroads in these areas, which are considered AAP strongholds.
Sitting and former councillors
The list included four former mayors. Master Azad Singh, Ravindra Gupta and Yogender Chandolia, all former mayors of North Delhi; and Khushi Ram, former mayor of South Delhi are among in the list.
The first list comprised names of six sitting councillors— Shikha Rai, Jai Prakash, Kiran Vaidya, Kailash Sankhla, Manish Chaudhary, Vijay Bhagat . Of them, Rai, Jai Prakash and Viadya had unsuccessfully contested the 2013 and 2015 assembly elections.
This time, Rai has been pitted against AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj who is seeking a re-election from Greater Kailash.
Prakash is the chairman of North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s standing committee. Sankla is a former deputy mayor of South Delhi Municipal Corporation while Bhagat is former deputy mayor of the north civic body.
The saffron party also reposed its faith in former councillors — over a dozen of them have got tickets, including Ravinder Gupta (Matia Mahal), Yogendra Chandolia (Karol Bagh), Master Aazad Singh (Mundka), and Rajkumar Dhillon (Kondli), among others.
Ravinder Gupta, who is Delhi BJP’s general secretary, and Chandolia were former mayors.
The BJP in its first list included four women candidates — Shikha Rai, Kiran Vaidya, Lata Sodhi and Rekha Gupta. Rai and Vaidya are sitting councillors from Greater Kailash and Trilokpuri. Rai had fought 2013 assembly election from Kasturba Nagar and had lost to AAP’s Madan Lal. Vaidya had contested from Trilokpuri seat in 2015 polls and lost to AAP’s Raju Dhingan.
Rekha Gupta had lost to AAP’s Bandana Kumari in 2015 polls from Shalimar Bagh. Gupta had been active in politics since college as she was also president of Delhi University Students’ Union from 1996 to 1997.
In 2013 assembly polls, the BJP had fielded four women — Aarti Mehra, Shikha Rai, Rajani Abbi and Poornima Vidyarthi. In 2015 assembly elections, the saffron party had fielded eight women candidates. BJP’s national spokesperson Nupur Sharma was also among the contestants and had lost to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal from New Delhi segment. The 2015 assembly polls were contested under the leadership of then BJP’s CM face Kiran Bedi.
Scheduled caste candidates
Of the 12 constituencies reserved for Scheduled Caste, the party announced the names for 11 seats. In the past elections, the party has always fielded 13 SC candidates. Apart from the 12 reserved seats, the party had always fielded an SC candidate from the Muslim-dominated Ballimaran constituency. This time, too, the party has fielded former councillor Lata Sodhi from the constituency. Mohan Girhara, head of Delhi BJP’s SC unit, said, “The constituency largely has Muslim and SC communities.”
Only two turncoats could make it to the first list of the BJP. AAP’s rebel leaders Kapil Mishra and Anil Bajpai got tickets from Model Town and Gandhi Nagar, respectively.
Mishra and Bajpai had joined BJP during Lok Sabha elections in May last year and had campaigned for the party. Mishra, a former MLA from Karawal Nagar, will take on AAP’s Akhilesh Mani Tripathi in Model Town, while Bajpai will contest from Gandhi Nagar, a constituency he won on AAP’s ticket in 2015.
However, other leaders who had joined BJP from AAP could not make it to the first list. Gugan Singh and Devender Sehrawat didn’t find a mention in the list.
Sehrawat, who won on an AAP ticket from Bijwasan, was eying a ticket from the BJP for the same seat but it was given to Satyaprakash Rana.
Gugan Singh had returned to BJP from AAP just ahead of the assembly elections. He had also fought Lok Sabha elections on an AAP ticket from Northwest Delhi parliamentary constituency but had lost to BJP’s Hans Raj Hans. Singh had won from Bawana in 2013 on a BJP ticket.
Since 1993, the BJP has always fielded a Muslim candidate from the Muslim-dominated Matia Mahal constituency. But in a break from this tradition, the saffron party this time has fielded Ravinder Gupta, Delhi BJP’s general secretary, from the constituency.