The rise of the AAP is making the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) do a rethink on its candidates for Delhi Lok Sabha seats. The party has delayed the announcement of candidates’ list as many senior leaders have opted out of contesting from Delhi, sources said.
Sources said several top BJP leaders, who had earlier expressed a desire to contest Lok Sabha polls from Delhi, are now doing a re-think. They are likely to leave seats to Delhi-centric leaders, sources said, as they don’t want the AAP spoil their chances.
“Looking at the BJP’s performance in the Assembly elections and the Modi wave in the country, leaders such as Arun Jaitley, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Hema Malini, among others, wanted to contest from Delhi. But now their stand is unclear. The AAP factor is dominant in Delhi and many think that it would be safer to fight from a constituency outside the capital. This is one of the reasons why the party the delaying the announcement of candidates for Delhi seats,” a BJP leader said.
Sidhu, who was considered the BJP’s final candidate for the West Delhi constituency, is now reluctant to contest from the capital, sources said.
Sources said Arun Jaitley has decided to meet him on Saturday to convince him to contest from West Delhi.
With the BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi counting on every seat to ensure victory, senior leaders believe that not allowing MLAs to contest polls might hurt the party’s chances.
“We need to pick winning candidates. Senior leaders backing out from contesting in Delhi and excluding MLAs from contesting are going to hurt BJP’s chances in Delhi. We have seen what happened when councillors were barred from contesting Assembly polls,” a senior BJP leader said.
BJP panel meets to discuss candidates
NEW DELHI: In one of BJP’s first state election committee meetings to finalise Lok Sabha candidates, names of prospective candidates were discussed at the residence of the party’s former national president Nitin Gadkari. Councillors and MLAs were among those considered for candidature. ENS