‘Poorvanchalis are expected to play a leading role in Delhi’

A senior BJP leader told The Hindu on Tuesday that the appointment of a new State president for his party was expected later this week. Incumbent State president Dr. Harsh Vardhan was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Chandni Chowk constituency and was made the Union Health Minister. Party convention ordains that an individual not hold both a political post and executive office at the same time.

The leader, who is also a Member of Parliament, said: “In two or three days the situation will become clear. The appointment will be made by (the Home Minister and BJP president) Rajnath Singh. His replacement (as national president) may happen later.”

He confirmed that front-runners of the post included South Delhi Municipal Corporation Standing Committee chairman Satish Upadhyay and Alok Kumar, a permanent invitee to the State executive committee. “The choice of State president is solely the discretion of Mr. Singh. What I can predict is that in the coming months you will see Poorvanchalis (people from Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh) playing a leading role in Delhi. Our population here is 45 lakh and two MPs Manoj Tiwari and Udit Raj are from Poorvanchal,” he added.

The new president has his task cut out — of returning the party to power in the Capital. The BJP is expected to take the fresh poll route rather than depend on defectors to form a government in Delhi. Although sources claim that defections may take place in order to weaken the morale of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The Assembly has been in suspended animation since the AAP’s minority government resigned over the blocking of the Jan Lokpal Bill.

Currently, the party position in the 70-member Delhi Assembly is 28 (including one from its ally, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal)), 27 of the AAP, eight of the Congress, one of Janata Dal (United) and one Independent. In addition to them, three seats are vacant after BJP MLAs Dr. Vardhan, Ramesh Bidhuri and Parvesh Verma were elected to the Lok Sabha and, there is also one unattached member Vinod Binny, who was expelled from the AAP.

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