The Bharatiya Janata Party’s poster boy in the Capital and current Delhi unit chief Harsh Vardhan will take on journalist-turned-Aam Aadmi Party worker Ashutosh with the party on Saturday naming him as the candidate for the Chandni Chowk constituency.
The BJP announced the names of all seven candidates for the April 10 polls after an intense meeting of the Central Election Committee that ran late into the night.
Apart from the current Delhi BJP chief, the line-up of candidates includes two sitting MLAs from Mehrauli and Tughlakabad, two new entrants to the party and a “spiritual” leader and a woman candidate.
Dr. Vardhan, who was also named as the chief ministerial candidate ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls last year, is also the sitting MLA from East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar. The announcement came as a surprise as earlier the names of sitting Tri Nagar MLA Nand Kishore Garg and former Delhi unit chief Vijender Gupta were doing the rounds.
For the New Delhi constituency, the party has zeroed in on senior leader and party spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi. The constituency will see a triangular fight between the AAP’s Ashish Khetan and the Congress’ Ajay Maken, who is the sitting MP from here.
Meanwhile, two newcomers to the party, Manoj Tiwari and Udit Raj, have been named as candidates from the North-East and North-West (reserved) constituencies respectively. Mr. Tiwari, who is a popular Bhojpuri singer and actor, joined the BJP in October 2013 ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls, stating that he had taken the decision primarily because of the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.
Mr. Raj, a prominent Dalit leader, joined the BJP only in February this year and had recently accused AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal of “cheating Dalits” ahead of the Delhi polls.
Pravesh Verma, the son of former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma, who is the sitting MLA from Mehrauli, has been named as the candidate for the West Delhi seat upsetting ticket hopefuls such as senior leader and former Delhi Finance Minister Jagdish Mukhi.
While the party has named Mahesh Girri from East Delhi who, according to his bio-data, claims to have co-founded the India Against Corruption movement and has been associated with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living, from South Delhi, the party has named sitting Tughlakabad MLA Ramesh Bidhuri, who is known to be an influential Gujjar leader.