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BJP divided as it releases candidates' list

CM candidate Harsh vardhan will have to preside over team handpicked by Vijay Goel, the party president who lost out in the race

BS Reporters  |  New Delhi 

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday released the list of names of 62 candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections due on December 4, which left the party even more divided than it already was.

Harsh Vardhan won the battle for the post of chief ministerial candidate but he will have to preside over a team handpicked by Vijay Goel, the party president who lost out in the race. Goel is expected to fight the Lok Sabha elections: his name is not on the Assembly list. Against incumbent Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the party has fielded a relative lightweight, former delhi unit chief Vijender Gupta.

Insiders say the BJP’s defeat is certain, and a deal may already have been made to field Gupta as candidate for the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Vijay Jolly, the party’s urbane and fun-loving leader, wanted the Greater Kailash seat, but his request has been ignored and instead, it is V K Malhotra’s son Ajay who has been given the party nomination.

Convenor of the Overseas Friends of the BJP Jolly was the official translator for party President Rajnath Singh during his recent US visit. But proximity to the party president has not helped him. It was Jolly, who was instrumental in bringing foreign envoys to Narendra Modi’s Delhi rally.

That Azad Singh, former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma’s brother, has not made it suggests Vijender Gupta is the one to have lost out the most.

Goel’s family members have not been given any nominations — rumours were rife that after being edged out of the constest for chief ministerial candidate, Goel had asked for the Model Town seat for his wife Preeti. But instead, the candidate for Model Town, Ashok Goyal is the BJP state chief’s right hand man. The party state secretary and treasurer have both got a seat, suggesting Goel’s team is in. Among others from Goel’s team are corporators Suman Gupta, Kailash Sankhla and Subhash Sachdeva.

Satprakash and Kulwant Rana are the two Jats the party has nominated. There is no appreciable change in the party’s appeal to poorvanchalis – those from eastern UP and Bihar, who have settled in Delhi. Anil Jha has been nominated from Kirari and Shikha Rai from Kasturba Nagar.

The Akali Dal was asking for 12 Assembly seats, they have been given only four. BJP stalwart H S Balli’s seat has been given to the Akali Dal.

The BJP has opted to field its own Sikh candidate, R P Singh, from Harin Nagar.

The names in the candidate-list also show the influence of national leaders. While O P Sharma and Abhay Verma are perceived as close to Arun Jaitley, Nakul Bhardawaj and Vijay Bhagat are backed by Sushma Swaraj.

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First Published: Thu, November 07 2013. 00:40 IST