Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Rift over selection of Jagdish Mukhi from West Delhi

Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra’s supporters protest over denial of New Delhi ticket

NEW DELHI: The politics over tickets within the Bharatiya Janata Party which had announced the names of all its seven candidates for the Lok Sabha polls from Delhi on Thursday gained strength on Saturday.

Hot on the heels of the supporters of Jat leader Parvesh Verma who protested outside senior leader L. K. Advani’s residence on Friday, supporters of Delhi Mayor Arti Mehra held a strong protest at the Delhi BJP office on Pandit Pant Marg on Saturday.

Ms. Mehra had been seeking the party ticket from New Delhi constituency and her candidature is understood to have been backed by Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Vijay Kumar Malhotra among others.

However, as the ticket finally went to former Union Minister and BJP general secretary Vijay Goel, the supporters of Ms. Mehra protested against the decision on Saturday evening.

Argument

The argument being advanced by the protesters was that New Delhi is a parliamentary seat in which six of the 10 Assembly segments are represented by members of the Punjabi community. Therefore, Ms. Mehra who is a Punjabi should have been given the ticket.

The candidature of former Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Jagdish Mukhi from West Delhi had also evoked a lot of protests from the supporters of Parvesh Verma, the son of the late Jat leader and former Delhi Chief Minister Sahib Singh Verma. A “Mahapanchayat” of Delhi’s villages has been planned in Dwarka on Sunday.

Mr. Verma, who has resigned as secretary of Delhi BJP over the denial of ticket, would have to take a call on whether he would continue to support the party in the Lok Sabha elections or not. He has denied the proposal of contesting as an Independent.

Justification

Meanwhile, BJP sources said the selection of Prof. Mukhi was justified to some extent. They insist that he is a “winning candidate” because in the last Delhi Assembly elections the BJP had won only the three Punjabi-dominated seats of Janakpuri, which he represents, Hari Nagar (which is represented by Harsharan Singh Balli) and Tilak Nagar (from where O.P. Babber is the MLA). However, in these seats it had gained enough votes to poll over 12,000 votes more than the Congress in all the 10 Assembly segments of West Delhi put together.

Also, it is being said that in a party survey, Prof. Mukhi was found to be much more popular than Parvesh, and this is what led to his ticket. But there are others who believe that Parvesh would have been better off .

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