First polls for three new Corporations
Facing a strong anti-incumbency in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has now decided to bring new faces for the upcoming polls, which would be the first for the three new Corporations carved out of the existing one.
Sources in the party said they are now waiting for the final word from the High Court on the reservation pattern to be followed before getting down to the finer details of candidate selection.
“We have already drawn up a data of the candidates for all the 272 wards in the three Corporations and most of the candidates would be new. These names were arrived after an exhaustive process in which two observers each were appointed for all the 14 districts of the party.”
These observers had interviewed the senior district and block-level office-bearers in the first week of February. “All the local office-bearers were asked if they were keen on contesting the elections and, if not, they were requested to furnish the names of candidates of their choice,” said the party source.
Through this process all the wards were covered and the report of all the observers has since been submitted to Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta.
Incidentally, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari also told a meeting of the Delhi party office-bearers recently that he would be getting his own survey conducted too to analyse which of the candidates stand the best chance of winning in the elections. “The three main criteria which would determine a candidate's selection as per the party president are winning ability, honesty and dedication to the party,” he said.
Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, who had played a key role in selection of candidates in the last Assembly elections too – the third consecutive loss to the BJP in Delhi, is in the thick of things again and told the Delhi BJP workers recently that the selection process would be fine-tuned this time.
But all this is not music to the party workers, who insist that often tickets are not given to candidates on the criteria of merit alone but are distributed on other considerations.
“The BJP Central leadership wants to send out a message that the conduct of the prospective candidates would be watched closely,” said a party leader.
The party is also organising a meet of the block-level workers on Sunday which would be addressed by national leaders L.K. Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu among others and an oath would also be administered to all the workers to adhere to party discipline irrespective of the outcome of the ticket selection.
However, the party has shown by its own conduct that it believes in being soft against dissidents.