The BJP central election committee on Tuesday deferred the announcement of candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections by a day following differences within the party.

The issues included granting tickets to the sons of senior leaders, giving sitting MLAs another chance and tackling demands of long-term ally Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).

Though the committee, chaired by national president Rajnath Singh, discussed the issue of Delhi tickets for about an hour at the party headquarters, it could not thrash out a consensus on most of these issues and decided to meet again on Wednesday afternoon to discuss them.

The meeting was attended by senior leader L.K. Advani; prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi; Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj; Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley; former national president and Delhi in-charge Nitin Gadkari; senior national leaders Murli Manohar Joshi, Ananth Kumar and Shahnawaz Hussain; national general secretary (organisation) Ram Lal; Delhi unit president Vijay Goel; Delhi chief ministerial candidate Harsh Vardhan; former Delhi president Mange Ram Garg; Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly V.K. Malhotra; and Delhi unit general secretary Vijay Sharma among others.

Earlier in the day, another high-level meeting was held at Mr. Gadkari’s residence, the invitees for which included Ms. Swaraj, Mr. Jaitley, Mr. Goel, Dr. Vardhan, Prof. Malhotra, Mr. Sharma and Mr. Ram Lal.

Broad outlines

At the nearly four-hour-long meeting, the broad outlines on granting tickets were laid down. Party sources said Mr. Jaitley and Ms. Swaraj are keen that the tickets are announced soon. Sources said there is a suggestion that the names of all the candidates be announced at one go, rather than in phases.

The party decided that it would give 10 per cent representation to women and two each to Muslims and Sikhs, besides giving greater emphasis to the youth and people from Poorvanchal.

As for the 24 sitting MLAs, it was pointed out that the main criteria would be the ability to win and there would be no guarantee that a candidate would be repeated only on the virtue of being a sitting legislator. “Each case will be treated on merit,” said a party leader.

It was also pointed out that the party would speak to senior Akali leader Parkash Singh Badal to resolve the issue of Tilak Nagar and Hari Nagar seats being demanded by the Akalis.


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