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Resentment brews in Delhi BJP

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Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Party’s national secretary Vijay Goel resigns in protest

NEW DELHI: At a time when its workers were hoping to carry forward the turnaround in fortune following its good showing in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections not long ago, the Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is finding itself in a spot of bother.

The extension granted to its president Harsh Vardhan, allegations of rigging in party polls and sidelining of certain leaders has not gone down well with the cadre, and the submission of resignation by the party’s national secretary Vijay Goel has really got the workers worried.

A senior Delhi BJP leader said on Monday that rather than being able to consolidate on its gains, the party has been plunging into deeper turmoil with each passing day: “Contrary to expectations that had arisen owing to the general disillusionment of the people with the work and policies of the Congress government in Delhi, the BJP has been coming across as a very divided house and the workers are really despondent.”

Mr. Goel, who sent his resignation to party president Rajnath Singh, is understood to have highlighted certain anomalies in the functioning of the party unit in Delhi which according to him, and many others, do not bode well for its future prospects.

Incidentally, many within the party feel that the Central leadership erred by not taking up the Delhi issue seriously: “Had all the senior party leaders of Delhi been made to sit across a table, then the matter of selecting a president too could have been resolved with consensus. But that did not happen and now there is a lot of bitterness at all levels – mandal, district and State. With all factions of the Delhi Congress coming together ever since J. P. Agarwal took over as the party leader in the Capital, the BJP now has a lot of work to do ahead of the Assembly polls.”

In fact, a large number of party workers are concerned at the recent developments. During the elections to the mandals and districts, South Delhi MP and Deputy Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha V. K. Malhotra had been instrumental in selecting the leaders in charge of elections. This in turn had led to widespread allegations of partiality by those belonging to rival camps.

When former Metropolitan Councillor and senior party leader O. P. Kohli, who has been nominated the Chief Election Officer by the Central leadership, heard the complainants he found substance in the allegations. He consequently submitted his recommendations to the Delhi leadership and election in-charge Shyam Lal Garg. However, as the recommendations were ignored, Prof. Kohli had resigned.

The matter was also taken up with the unit leadership and Mr. Garg by P. K. Chandla, who headed a committee appointed to look into various allegations during the mandal and district polls. But he too resigned after the recommendations were “dumped.”

A party leader insisted that “the resignation of these stalwarts just shows how a mockery was made of the democratic process in the BJP that prides itself in upholding this virtue.”

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